You already know that grandparents are passionate about wanting the best programs and services for their families. But… there are many things you can do everyday to advocate for families … when you’re at home – and out in the community…
When you’re at Home:
• Go online to become better informed about autism and to learn about new discoveries and treatments
• Volunteer for research studies. Some are just simple, online surveys. The Family Autism Network’s website posts local research enrollment opportunities – from a variety of universities and other local sites.
• Participate in national and international studies by signing up at the Interactive Autism Network Project – and you will find even more available online.
• Register on the Autism Speaks website for notifications about pending legislation that will affect families AND contact your political representatives about how you want them to support or not support proposed legislation.
• Send an email to encourage and thank businesses that employ people with developmental disabilities – Reach out to other companies that you patronize -or where you have contacts – to encourage them to train or hire people with disabilities.
What can you do everyday to help In the Community?
• Attend and support autism conferences, workshops and training events. The Family Autism Network website has a Calendar of local events – and The Center for Autism offers outstanding programs for families. If events are not well attended, they most likely won’t be available in the future.
• If someone with a disability helped you when you were shopping, be sure to compliment that employee. Personally thank the store manager for their hiring policy before leaving.
• Do you belong to a philanthropic group that features speakers? Contact the Center for an autism professional who can schedule a presentation on a topic of interest.
• Check to see if your local Parks & Recreation Department offers programs for people with disabilities. If not, advocate for them.
• Eating Out? – is a child having a meltdown nearby? Do the parents need help? Offer to assist them. Express empathy, not criticism.
• Consider volunteering for a local autism event. If you’re available on October 22nd, GAN can use your help at the Spooktacular Social for Adults with Autism (16 years & Older) & Their Caregivers. Not available then? Check our calendar of events for additional community volunteer opportunities.
And, finally, the most important way I believe you can help the autism community everyday is to:
Talk publically with others about autism. When people hear the “A word” – very often – even strangers will reveal that they, too, have family members, neighbors or friends with autism. Speaking openly about autism helps to eliminate the stigma associated with autism – and makes others who are affected feel less isolated.
There are simply NO LIMITS as to how you can support people with autism in our community. Your generous financial contributions tonight – and daily advocacy – will help to ensure that individuals with autism – will have a better quality of life –
… and a future with NO LIMITS!