Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coming Soon: Next Steps into Adulthood!

The Center for Autism Research (CAR) is excited to announce that we have received a grant from Autism Speaks™ to develop Next Steps into Adulthood. The one year grant will provide the funding needed to expand our already successful Next Steps Workshop Series, which currently features Next Steps Workshop for Families of Young Children, Next Steps Workshop for Professionals, and Next Steps into Adolescence.

The original Next Steps workshop was developed over ten years ago for families whose young children were recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The workshop covers what ASD is, what therapies and services are available for children, what supports are available for parents, and more.

CAR social worker and workshop organizer Gail Stein, LCSW says, “Next Steps was originally developed for families whose children were recently given an ASD diagnosis because that’s where the greatest need seemed to be. These families were entering a world that they needed information about. But then we were seeing tweens and teens in the clinic whose parents really wanted guidance on how to navigate the adolescent years and middle school, so we developed Next Steps into Adolescence.”

Those CAR research participants who were in their early teens a few years ago are now quickly approaching adulthood, and the reality is ASD is a lifelong diagnosis that requires a lifelong plan.

According to Stein, “Ideally, families should begin thinking about what their child’s post-education plans are by about 14 years of age.”

There are a multitude of questions to consider: Will the student graduate at 18 or remain in the secondary education system until age 21? Is a vocational program appropriate? Will the child attend college? How much support does the individual need on a day to day basis? Where will the individual live after high school?

As Stein explains, “It’s a very overwhelming list for parents. The adult system is not mandated, so it’s very fragmented. Navigating the adult transition process is difficult even for the most experienced and knowledgeable parent.”

Because the topic of adulthood is so broad, Next Steps into Adulthood will have a different format from the other workshops, which are one day sessions. The Adulthood workshop will feature eight sessions over a two month period. We plan to develop the content with the help of adults with ASD, their families, and professionals who support them.

Developing this content will take time, so we do not yet have a date for the workshop launch. Please keep an eye out for messages from our email listserv (listserv sign up box on right-hand side of screen) or our Facebook page for more info!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spring 2014 Autism Events

Outreach Coordinator
Center for Autism Research

It may feel like this winter is never going to end, but believe it or not, spring is just over a month away! March, April, and May are chock-full of events for the Greater Philadelphia autism community. Here is a sampling of what’s coming up!

Wednesday, February 26th
Hosted by the Center for Autism Research at CHOP

Friday, March 14th and Saturday, March 15th
Hosted by  the Asperger & Autism Alliance for Greater Philadelphia (ASCEND) and Austill’s Rehabilitation Services, Inc.

Monday, March 24th
Hosted by the Center for Autism Research at CHOP

Wednesday, March 26th
Hosted by the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit

Thursday, March 27th
Hosted by the Center for Autism Research at CHOP

Saturday, March 29th
Hosted by the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition

Sunday, March 30th
Hosted by the Asperger Autism Spectrum Education Network

Wednesday, April 2nd
Resolution 62/139 of the United Nations General Assembly

Friday, April 4th
7th Annual Autism Expo
Hosted by the Philadelphia School District

Saturday, April 5th
Hosted by Variety-The Children’s Charity

Saturday, April 12th
Hosted by Autism Speaks

Sunday, April 13th
Hosted by the Autism Society of Greater Philadelphia

Friday, April 18th
Hosted by Variety-The Children’s Charity

Wednesday, April 23rd
Autism Awareness Fair
Hosted by the Upper Darby School District at Primos Elementary School
Thursday, April 24th
3rd Annual Autism Awareness Month Resource Fair
Hosted by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU)
Friday, April 25th
Hosted by Autism Speaks

Saturday, April 26th
Hosted by the Autism Institute of Gwynedd Mercy University

Building Bridges for Transitions and Risk Management-2014 ASD Conference
Hosted by LaSalle University and Foundations Behavioral Health
Sunday, April 27th
Hosted by Variety-The Children’s Charity

Autism Awareness Sunday
Hosted by Temple Lutheran Church
Wednesday, April 30th
Hosted by the Center for Autism Research at CHOP

Saturday, May 17th
Hosted by Autism Speaks

Friday, May 30th
Hosted by the Center for Autism Research at CHOP

Sunday, June 1st
Hosted by Variety-The Children’s Charity

Tuesday, June 10th through Thursday, June 12th
Hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Autism Services