April is an important month at the ASCV, and we look forward to sharing exciting opportunities to promote education, community participation, and advocacy with all of you.

National Autism Awareness Month was originally launched in the 1970s by the Autism Society of America (ASA) to promote awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and to ensure the highest quality of life for individuals with autism. April represents an excellent opportunity to share stories and resources, educate about autism and issues within the autism community, and encourage awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

Our team at the ASCV will focus this month on raising awareness and connecting individuals and families with the resources they need. Please join us in promoting awareness and taking meaningful action to improve the lives of individuals with autism here in Central Virginia. We invite you to Learn about autism and how you can Share, Act and Give to support our local autism community.  

Here are some ways you can get involved:
  • For a variety of ways you can spread awareness, check out the National Autism Awareness Month page on our website, and share it with members of your support network and local community members.
  • Join us for “Calling All Minds: An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin” on Friday, April 26th. You can purchase tickets here.
  • Share your personal story about how autism has impacted you to help educate others.
  • Contact your local representatives to educate them about autism and advocate for funding to support high quality services and programming.
  • Use social media to share what your family, school, business, or organization is doing to promote autism awareness.
  • Form a team for the ASCV 5K and Family Fun Day on May 18th, and host an April fundraiser together.  Click here for more information & to register.
  • Attend our ASCV social, recreational, educational and support programming.
  • Volunteer with us or another organization that serves our local autism community.
  • Join the ASCV School Fundraising Challenge

We want to hear from you as you Learn, Share, Act and Give this month! Please include us by tagging us on Facebook, using our National Autism Awareness Month hashtag (#NAAM2019), or sending us an email at info@ascv.org. Awareness and acceptance are important all year long, and we appreciate all you do to support our autism community this month, and every month! 

It's not too late to get your tickets! Click here for details and registration: 
Executive Director's Message
Ann Flippin

It’s hard to believe it’s already April, spring is upon us, and we’re launching into National Autism Awareness Month! Thank you to everyone who has approached us with ideas and creative ways to promote autism awareness and acceptance and raise funds for the ASCV this April.  You’ll find details for many of these events and initiatives throughout the newsletter, and we hope you will join us! For ideas on how you can participate this month, please visit our special website page here. We also have ways for schools and businesses to spread awareness and raise funds. 

We’re honored to host an Evening with Temple Grandin on Friday, April 26, at the Byrd Theatre, and anticipate selling out the theatre for this event!  The event has been made possible to us by the Richmond Forum and the Byrd Theatre, along with additional community partners and sponsors.  We hope you’ll all join us, as we look forward to this inspiring evening together.  Tickets are available for purchase here.

As we wrap up the month of March, I reflect back on quite a few programs we hosted for the community that touched 221 individuals.  Our teens enjoyed an Improv Workshop at Comedy Sports, Tammy Burns facilitated a valuable workshop on the “ABCs of IEPs,” and we hosted a Sibshop with our newly-certified facilitator Aliza, just to name a few programs.  As our regular programming continues, please be sure to share your feedback in our new post-program surveys, as we work to expand our membership offerings in the coming months.

Our staff, along with 350+ volunteers, shared a busy March weekend together at the Virginia Wine Expo, and I’m excited to share that we raised over $8,000 as the charitable beneficiary of the event.  Thank you for all who volunteered or stopped by our booth to say hello!

I’m also excited to share that our Junior Board is in full force and is making great plans for the months ahead.  I’m honored to announce the first President of our Junior Board, Patrick Jorgensen, Paraplanner for Ameriprise Financial.  Our Junior Board meets bi-monthly and also has representation on ASCV taskforces and committees to support our program and fundraising initiatives.

I hope you are gearing up for this year’s 17th Anniversary 5K & Family Fun Day on Saturday, May 18 at Stony Point Fashion Park!  Our leadership committee has been working hard planning out the event elements, registration is going strong, and our fundraisers are off to the races.  It’s shaping up to be our biggest 5K yet!

Thank you for being part of our ASCV family!  We hope you will join us in sharing information about the resources, social, support, and educational opportunities the ASCV provides for individuals with autism and families, not just in April but year-round.  We wish you a wonderful National Autism Awareness Month, and we hope to see you at an event or program soon!

-Ann Flippin
Executive Director
March's Featured Program
The ASCV is proud to introduce our new Sibshop facilitator, Aliza Weiss! Aliza is a Cleveland native, and has been in Richmond for just about two years. She has an undergraduate degree in special education from Michigan State, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State, and is now working on her PhD in counselor education and supervision at VCU. Aliza is interested in working with siblings of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  Aliza hopes to conduct meaningful research and create interventions that ease role transitions within a family. 

Sibshops is a program offered throughout the country to meet the needs of youth who have a sibling with special needs. Aliza recently traveled to Lynchburg to attend the 2-day Sibshop training to become a certified facilitator.  She is now equipped with the knowledge to complement her passion for supporting siblings.  During the two-hour Sibshop program, attendees engage with each other through interactive games, discussions, and activities, allowing them to share their experiences. Activities range from high energy relay races to reflective artwork, creating a space for siblings to grow and learn from each other. To learn more about the international Sibshop model, go to https://www.siblingsupport.org/  

The ASCV's next Sibshop is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 2019. Be on the lookout for more details and registration soon.  If you have a child in mind, ages 7-13, who you think would enjoy this program, please encourage them to send an email to info@ascv.org for more information. 
State Legislation Increases Access to Insurance Coverage
for Individuals with Autism

Exciting steps were taken in March to expand health coverage for individuals with autism in Virginia! On March 21st, Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 2577 and Senate Bill 1693 into place, removing the age cap from insurance coverage for autism-related services and supports. We are grateful to those who have shared their stories, visited their representatives, and advocated for this change in the Commonwealth!

One of our ASCV member families was featured as they advocated at the General Assembly, and we’re proud to share their story and what this important legislation means to them.  The Richmond-Times Dispatch also shared an article about this recent victory.

This legislation brings our state one step closer to making services and supports more accessible for individuals with autism living in Virginia and their families!

Let’s Show Congress We CARE!

President Trump recently released his proposed budget for FY2020 which could have major implications for individuals with autism, as well as the broader disability community. His proposal includes elimination of funding for the Autism CARES Act, significant cuts to programs that provide supports and resources to individuals with disabilities, and massive cuts and structural changes to the Medicaid program.

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act is an important bill that has significantly increased research efforts, surveillance and awareness activities, public education, and training of professionals to screen and/or diagnose for autism and other developmental disabilities.

While great progress has been made through the Autism CARES Act since 2006, there is still a significant need for additional services, supports, and education to improve the quality of lives of individuals with autism and their families. Our community is passionate, determined, and committed to advocating for the highest possible funding for programs that support people with autism. Together we can make a great impact on the lives of individuals with autism in our local communities.

This budget proposal from the President is just the first step of many in the federal budget and appropriations process. From here, Congress will be tasked with the development of their budget proposal. This means NOW is a great time to advocate, and make sure that your voice is being represented when Congress builds their budget proposal!

Here is how you can get involved to help advocate for the highest possible funding for programs that support people with autism:

  • Support the efforts to reauthorize the Autism CARES Act by contacting your Senators and Representatives and urging them to cosponsor and pass the Autism CARES Act of 2019. You can find the contact information for your legislators here: https://www.virginia.gov/services/whos-my-legislator/

ASCV Member Spotlight
The ASCV Spotlight features individuals, families, events and organizations that are supporting the Autism Society Central Virginia’s mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism by maximizing the self-sufficiency, independence, and quality of life for all living with autism.  This month’s column features ASCV member, Molly Korte and her family. Special thanks to Molly for contributing this article to the April 2019 Newsletter.

June 30, 2016 is the day my husband Brian and I found out that our son Jacob was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Jacob was 18 months old at the time and we were devastated. The information we received was grim. The nurse explained that our child might never talk, communicate, or connect with others. We were told to expect he would live a life of isolation, were given a folder of information and contacts and sent on our way.

We had no idea where to turn with this news, who to talk to for help, or how to even process this information. The whole experience was pretty awful. After we left the office, we went to my parents’ house for dinner that night, and it was my dad who held my hands before dinner, looked at me and said “Molly, don’t you see what a gift this is to our family? Jacob is going to teach us to love more, be more compassionate, and bring us closer together as a family.” My dad would tragically pass unexpectedly early the next year, but his words will forever remain timeless, as it changed my whole reference of thought on how I viewed Jacob and his diagnosis. I quickly began to understand in the months and years ahead that a life of advocacy awaited me. Jacob had become my WHY.

Fast forward to 2019. Because we had a quick-witted pediatrician who recommended an early diagnosis, we have been fortunate to see Jacob grow and progress. We quickly became plugged in to the autism community in Richmond and beyond. Our focus switched to what Jacob CAN do! We proudly shout this mantra from the rooftops!

Life has certainly not been easy on this journey with autism. We have dealt with the feelings of loneliness and isolation. But we believe that Jacob is unique, special, and amazing just the way he is. The Autism Society of Central Virginia has been a wonderful resource for our family, as they share our passion for acceptance of all individuals. It has allowed us to connect to a larger entity working to build a stronger and more vibrant inclusive autism community within RVA. Their activities look to not only better the lives of individuals on the spectrum, but their families as well.

My daughter Emma attended a Sibshop and got to bond with other siblings of kids on the spectrum. The workshop provided a safe space for her to share her feelings while having a fun time. My husband and I have attended a parent support group for families of young children on the spectrum. We’ve attended talks and forums that helped validate our feelings and sort through our emotions. The past two years, I have had the privilege of attending DD Advocacy Day and meeting with my lawmakers on ways to improve the lives of those on the spectrum as well as individual concerns of our family. 

I believe we are living in amazing times. The disability community is changing for the better. More than ever, doors are opening and attitudes are changing. We are embarking on a more kind and understanding society in the 21st century. I believe my son Jacob will have a brighter future because of the work we as advocates are doing now. While I cannot map out my son’s future, I do know that he will have greater opportunities for college and a career path, something that was not even possible ten years ago in our society. Those affected by autism are finally being heard on a larger scale. There is no greater joy than this.

During this National Autism Awareness Month, let’s continue to show the world all the things our children are capable of doing. They are indeed our gifts, not only to our families, but to society. May we celebrate our children not only in the month of April, but all year long!

-The Korte Family
April Workshop
Preparing Middle & High Schoolers
with ASD for College

Please join us on Friday, April 12, 2019 at River Road United Methodist Church, 8800 River Road in Richmond for these important workshops on preparing teens with ASD for the transition to college!

Both workshops will be presented by Barbara Simeroth of Spectrum Wise, a college consultant for individuals on the spectrum. The first workshop, 
"Begin Preparing your Middle School Student for College (It’s Not Too Early!)" will begin at 6:15pm and will be geared toward middle school parents.
The second workshop, "Beyond Academics: Preparing to Go to College with ASD" is for parents of high schoolers and starts at 7:45pm. 

 ASCV April Programs Calendar
Find our entire calendar of events here.​

April 2
ASCV NAAM Kick-off: Special screening of "Life, Animated" at the Byrd Theatre, Carytown; 7pm; see flier above

April 6
Cross Bearers Motorcycle Ministry "Ride 4 Autism", benefiting the ASCV; see flier below

April 8
Don't Look Back Tacos, 5% benefits the ASCV; both locations; see flier below

April 12
ASCV April Program: Preparing Middle and High Schoolers with ASD for College; 6:15pm for middle school presentation; 7:45pm for high school presentation; details and registration: 

ASCV Teen Groups; free for ASCV members; check your email for Eventbrite invitation

April 13
Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD Ages 0-8; 12:30pm;

Garden Grove Brewing Co. & Urban Winery Fundraiser benefiting the ASCV; 5pm to close; for more information: 

April 14 
Bowling Outing for Children/Youth/Adults with Autism; free for ASCV members; check your email for Eventbrite invitation

April 20
ASCV Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre; Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse; 2pm; Carytown; see flier above

April 24
TGI Friday's Bartender Flair Show benefiting the ASCV; 6-9pm; 13140 Rittenhouse Dr., Midlothian; see flier below

April 26
ASCV Hosts: "Calling All Minds": An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin; information and tickets: https://templegrandinascv.eventbrite.com

April 27 
Inclusive Lego & Game Club – Downtown; 10am; details and
registration: https://ascvlegoapr19.eventbrite.com

"Until the Pieces Fit Autism Fundraiser", benefiting the ASCV; 9am-5pm; see flier below

April 29
Adults with Asperger’s/HFA Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church

Parents of Adults with ASD Support Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church
Upcoming ASCV Workshops on Waivers
presented by Bradford Hulcher

Friday, May 10, 7pm

Developmental Disabilities Waivers 101

Friday, May 17, 7pm

I Have a DD Waiver: Now What?

News from the Community
The following announcements, events, and opportunities are not sponsored by the Autism Society Central Virginia. They are provided for informational purposes and should not necessarily be considered an endorsement by the ASCV. ​
Advertise in the ASCV Newsletter
Our newsletter reaches over 3,000 families, professionals and educators on a monthly basis. If you would like to place an advertisement, please contact us at info@ascv.org. Ad Rates: 1/2 page ad = $75 ($68 non-profit) or Full page ad = $100 ($90 non-profit). Long term Ad discounts: Ads of 6-11 months =10% discount, Ads of 12 months or longer = 15% discount.

The Board reserves the right to refuse to place an advertisement.
March Community Calendar
click on links in blue for additional info
Registration open for Virginia's Collaborative Early Childhood Birth to Five Conference; July 17-19; Roanoke; details & registration:  

April 1                 
Sensory Story Time at Glen Allen Library; for more information visit:

April 2
Jumpology Special Needs Night, 5pm-7pm; http://www.jumpology.us/Pricing-Hours for more information

Sensory Story Time at Varina Area Library; for more information:

April 5
Special Night at Children's Museum Chesterfield; 5:30-7:30pm; for more information: https://www.childrensmuseumofrichmond.org/full-menu/special-nights/

April 6
VA Family Network Youth & Family Summit; 9am-3:30pm; information and registration: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eg1wdzr08669030d&oseq=&c=&ch=

This Ability 7th Annual Family Festival; 12-4pm; Crystal Lake Park, Hopewell; more information: http://thisability.org/7th_annual_family_festival

April 8
Hanover SEAC Meeting at 7pm; Hanover School Board Office,
200 Berkley St.; for more information, call 804-365-4596

Sky Zone Special Needs Sensory Friendly Night, 5pm-6pm; for more information call 804-379-2500 or visit http://www.skyzone.com/richmon

April 9
Think:Kids Collaborative Problem Solving Introductory Training; 8:30am to 4:30pm, details & registration: thinkkids.org

Richmond SEAC Meeting; visit https://www.rvaschools.net/Page/1277 for more information

April 15
Goochland SEAC Meeting at 6pm; Goochland School Board Office,
2938 River Rd West; for more information, call 804-556-5625

April 22
Colonial Heights SEAC Meeting at 6pm; Colonial Heights Technical Center, 3451 Conduit Rd.; for more information, email liatremblay@gmail.com

April 23
Henrico SEAC Meeting at 6:30pm; Brookland Middle School, 9200 Lydell Dr, Richmond; for more information: https://tinyurl.com/y8gsofw6

April 24
Caminos Group support group for Latino families with autism; meets at the Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry Street, Richmond, 23224 from 10am-12pm; RSVP at 804-646-0145

April 27
VA Repertory Theatre Sensory Friendly Performance of “Pinocchio”; 10:30am; Willow Lawn Children’s Theatre; details and tickets: http://va-rep.org/_pinocchio-childrens-theatre-willow-lawn.html

PEATC Dad Power Event; 10:30am-1pm; Richmond; details and registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dad-power-engaging-men-as-partners-for-students-success-registration-57219496053

April 30
Voters with Disabilities Engagement Expo; 11am-3pm; Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, 1440 N. Laburnum Ave., Henrico; details & registration:

Next Steps Behavioral Centers- Disability Benefits: VA's Medicaid Waivers and Social Security Workshop; 6-7:30pm; details & registration: 

May 11
Autism Speaks Town Hall, "Adult Services"; 7:30-11:30am; at The Faison Center; details & registration: http://act.autismspeaks.org/site/Calendar?id=102383&view=Detail

Check Out the ASCV on Social Media