Special Announcement: HCAS Receives Service Award from the Howard County Commission of Disability Issues


The Howard County Commission on Disability Issues recognized the Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) for its dedication to improving the lives of people affected by autism at their annual awards ceremony on Oct. 6. A service award winner, HCAS was recognized for its commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities to live self-directed, meaningful lives as full participants in their communities.

The 22nd Annual Commission on Disability Issues Award Ceremony honored the outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations that advance full participation in community life for all people and promote the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability rights laws.

Executive Kittleman seeks permanent status for MLK and transitioning youth commissions

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman has filed legislation to create two permanent county commissions – the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Holiday Commission and the Commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities. The legislation, which was introduced this week, must now be approved by the County Council.


Kittleman wants permanent status for the two commissions because of the valuable work conducted for the community. Originally created by Council Resolution in 1985, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission has been re-authorized each year by Executive Order for the past 30 years. The Transition Council for Youth with Disabilities was created by Executive Order in 2013 and re-authorized by Executive Order in 2014.


“Both of these commissions do important work for the County and requiring re-authorization every year makes no sense,” Kittleman said. “The MLK Commission has existed for three decades. It’s way past time to make it permanent. And the Transitioning Students Commission – while relatively new – performs such an important function for youth with disabilities that I believe strongly in giving it permanent status as well.”


According to the Howard County Code, boards and commissions established by Executive Order are meant to be temporary — typically not to exceed 18 months in term – and cease to exist at the expiration of the Executive Order.


“When I heard the news about legislation seeking permanent status for the Commission, the following quote from Dr. King came to mind: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,’” said Roberta Kelly, Acting Chairwoman of the MLK Commission. “As the newly elected Acting Chairman of the MLK Commission, along with the other commissioners, we applaud the County Executive’s decision to end the silence. It’s long overdue. We appreciate his support and that of our elected officials.”


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission encourages and coordinates appropriate ceremonies and activities of service throughout Howard County in observance of the holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, the Commission recognizes outstanding essays written by middle- and high-school students reflecting on the legacy of Dr. King. The Commission also organizes service opportunities and encourages participation in a “Day of Service” on the holiday observing Dr. King’s birthday.


Beth Benevides, who co-chairs the Commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities with Dawson Robertson, Transition Program Head of the Howard County Public School System, said families of children with disabilities often face great uncertainty when planning for their children’s futures.


“Our families often require greater coordination to prepare children for college, employment and participation in the community,” said Benevides, a parent of a high school student with autism. “We are most grateful for Executive Kittleman’s commitment to support students with disabilities through this legislation. Establishing a County Commission elevates our efforts to bring stakeholders together to address concerns facing transitioning youth with disabilities and their families and to create a roadmap for improvements in the transition process.”


The Commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities works to establish an effective, efficient and comprehensive delivery of services to meet the needs of county students with disabilities as they transition from high school to post-secondary education and employment.


By examining current practices and making recommendations, the Commission strives to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. The Commission also helps foster greater collaboration between the business, academic, non-profit and public sectors to engage in successful initiatives like Project SEARCH, an internship program designed to immerse students with disabilities in a work environment and provide important job skills.


A public hearing during which both bills will be discussed is scheduled for Monday, June 20 at 6:00 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City. The Council is scheduled to vote on the bills on July 8.



Pieces of the Puzzle Gala was a Great Success!!

Our 11th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala was a great success. Thank you for helping us raise $80,000 for programs and services, and thank you to all of our wonderful Sponsors for their support.

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor: The John. P Hussman Foundation .

     For a transcript of John P. Hussman’s Keynote Address please click here.

Also a special thanks to Heather McCabe for sharing her parent’s journey.

     For a transcript of her speech please click here.

Congratulations to our Award Recipients:

President’s Award: Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner and Academy Class 40

Community Partner Award: The Children’s Spot

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Madhu Thibaudeau

See below for some pictures from the event. For additional pictures, please click here to visit our Facebook page.

    Hussmans     Heather McCabe Speech HCPD award     Jenn wall      Children Spot Award

HCAS Congratulates the Graduates of Academy 40

Congratulations to the graduates of Academy 40!  Thank you for your support and dedication in choosing HCAS as your Community Service Project.

The class began last September as a class of 19. After 31 weeks of intensive training, eight recruits from the HCPD and one from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office began their law enforcement careers. They will now undergo 14 weeks of field training. As part of a community service project, the class also raised $3,660 for the Howard County Autism Society and participated in several events with autistic youths and their families.

Congratulations, officers!

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3 days left to buy tickets to HCAS’s 11th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala! Check out some of our Live Auction items!

Last 3 days to get tickets!
$150 per person / $1,500 per table
No tickets will be sold after Midnight, April 15th
Click here to buy tickets
Saturday, April 30, 2016
7 pm @ The Hotel at Arundel Preserve
 There will be a Live Auction*, Silent Auction, Photo Booth,  80’s Trivia and iPad Air 2 Raffle.
List of Live Auctions:
Item 1
Sunday at the Iron Bridge with Vince
You and three friends can spend a Sunday afternoon with the Dean of Iron Bridge University at the Communal table. Vince will lead you through a lively tasting of spectacular wines. You will also be treated to fabulous food prepared by the chefs of the Award Winning Iron Bridge Wine Company. Iron Bridge Wine Company has just been named by Baltimore Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants for the tenth time in 13 years! Date to be mutually agreed upon.
Value: $600. Courtesy of Steve Wecker and the Iron Bridge Company
Item 2
Fly Away!
Four one way e- pass tickets anywhere in United States on Southwest Airlines. The Southwest flight e-passes are valid for travel on Southwest only in the United States, its territories and its possessions, including Puerto Rico. While there are no blackout dates, travel must be completed by April 15, 2017.
Value: $800. Courtesy of Southwest AirlinesItem 3
Down by the Ocean
Enjoy a weeklong stay in an oceanfront luxury three-bedroom condominium in mid-town Ocean City! Sea Terrace Building, Unit #906, is located at 8800 Coastal Highway. The weeks available are Saturday, September 10th through 17th, September 17th through 24th, as well as any week in October. Successful bidder to select their week by May 31, 2016.
Value: $1200 per week. Courtesy of John and Debbie Clutts

Item 4
Golfer’s Delight
One week at Marriott’s Grande Ocean Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Two- bedroom ocean view villa that sleeps 8. This is the week of PGA Heritage golf tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines!
Value: $3,000. Courtesy of Terry Kemp

Item 5
Raven’s Hall of Famer
24×36 Autographed and Framed Jonathan Ogden Hall of Fame Photo Collage. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2013, Ogden was the first inductee to spend his entire playing career as a Baltimore Raven.
Value: Priceless. Courtesy of Smyth Jewelers

FAPE Conference Registration is Now Open! The Out-of-Sync Child: Sensory Challenges and Sensible Solutions

HCAS in conjunction with Rise for Autism and HCPSS Presents The Out-of-Sync Child: Sensory Challenges and Sensible Solutions 
Speaker:  Carol Kranowitz  on Saturday, May 14  at  9 am – 4 pm
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) gets in children’s way – and in their families’ and teachers’ way too! This presentation is perfect for parents, educators, therapists, and other professionals and will review how SPD plays out at home and school, and how to recognize underlying sensory issues. The program will offer sensory strategies and fun and functional “In Sync” activities, which benefit ALL kids in the family and classroom.

Participant: $35.00 per person, includes the cost of lunch

CEU Participant: $50.00 per person, includes the cost of lunch and 6 Occupational Therapy CEUs

Registration starts at 8:30am


9:00: Sensory Processing

10:30: Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

1:00: Identifying and Treating SPD in Young Children

2:30: Kids Gotta Move!

Click here to register