Providing Support
Promoting Awareness
Advocating for Change

HCAS Named 2019 ASA Affiliate of the Year!

The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) an affiliate of the Autism Society of America (ASA), is thrilled to announce that we have been selected as the 2019 ASA Affiliate of the Year! The award will be formally presented at the ASA National Conference on July 9, 2019 in Bethesda, MD. The Autism Society Affiliate of the Year award recognizes an affiliate for exceptional work toward improving the lives of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. Currently, ASA has about 80 affiliates nationwide.

HCAS is honored to be recognized for our more than 25 years of work and commitment to provide support, promote awareness, and advocate for change on behalf of individuals with ASD and their families in Howard County, MD.  We celebrate with members of our staff, board of directors and volunteers who, everyday, make our work possible.  At the same time, we salute the work of our sister affiliates and the ASA for their efforts to improve the lives of Americans affected by ASD. Together, we seek to maximize quality of life, ensure the highest level of dignity, and create a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR MADHU THIBAUDEAU.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support this past week. The Thibaudeau family will host Madhu’s Celebration of Life on April 6th from 4-8pm here at HCAS in the HC Non-Profit Collaborative, 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD. (Park and enter from the rear of the building — follow the signs). It is a place very near and dear to her heart, and will be a personal, informal affair.

We will be there on Saturday April 6th (her birthday) and you’re invited to come and go as you please. We will have food and drink and maybe some ‘80s music in the background. From Roger, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear Piano Man or Country Roads at some point in the evening either .”

Dress is casual. This will NOT be a sad affair. Purpose will be to celebrate her life, and share some of it with each other. So, bring your stories with you! And you’re welcome to bring your own pictures to share as well.

In order to help with food/drink amount, if you’re planning on attending, please email Roger rethibaudeau@verizon.net with the number of people who will be coming with you so we can plan accordingly for food and space (RSVP isn’t mandatory, if you forget and want to come, please come!).

Pass this message along to all Madhu’s friends and family who may be interested. And thank you once again for all your thoughts and prayers.

Gala Tickets Go On Sale Friday (2/1)!

Tickets for HCAS’ 14th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala go on sale Friday, February 1st, at www.howard-autism.org!  The event, this year with a Groovy 70’s theme, will be held on April 27, 2019 at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City from 7:00pm – Midnight.

2018 5K Race Results Are In!

A big THANK YOU to all who participated in our wonderful event this morning.  Your support will go a long way to enhance our mission of providing support, promoting awareness and acceptance, and advocating for positive change in the community.

Click HERE for 5K race results.

Walk/5K Results are IN!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 11th Annual One Step Closer… Autism Walk/5K Run! We raised $61,230 and counting! Race results can be seen here.

Our winning teams are:

Teams Who Raised Over $1,000:

  • Kyle’s Crew
  • Matt’s Mavericks
  • Stanley’s
  • Team Rory & Danny
  • Trey’s Train

Teams Who Raised Over $2,000:

  • Team Phoenix
  • Ryan’s Troop
  • Merrill Lynch

Teams Who Raised Over $3,000:

  • Team Boxall

Team Who Raised the Most Money:

  • Sam’s Squad with over $7,000!

We’d also like to acknowledge:

Our Largest Team: Ryan’s Troop with a total of 28 Team Members!

Our Most Spirited Team: Sam’s Squad for their enthusiasm and efforts to support the Howard County Autism Society with this event!

All of these team won awards during the event. If you have not picked up your awards, please contact the office at info@howard-autism.org or call at 410-290-3466.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Autism Walk/5K Run held on October 6, 2018! We look forward to seeing you there!

Housing Initiative Named Changemaker Challenge Finalist

The Housing Initiative has been selected as a finalist for the Changemaker Challenge competition! Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation and the United Way of Central Maryland, the Challenge is designed to support innovative ideas to address some of the most pressing social challenges facing Howard County. We’ll compete with other finalists at a live “pitch event” on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the Johns Hopkins University Kossiakoff Center for one of three $10,000 grants and valuable project consultation services.

As part of our application, we were required to prepare and post a two-minute “video elevator speech” of our idea on YouTube. You can watch it here. Read about us in The Baltimore Sun.

Admission to watch the Changemaker Challenge is free, but you need to register. Click here to sign up and join us on October 30!

For more on the Housing Sub-Committee, click here.

New Addition to this Year’s Walk: Amazing Racers!

AMAZING RACERS is a new component of our One Step Closer Walk & 5K that offers support for youth and adults with autism who may need additional supports to participate. HCAS will provide one-on-one assistance the day of the event plus the opportunity for two “training sessions” on September 23rd and 30th from 10am-11am at Centennial Park to acclimate individuals to the course and prepare them to take on our Cake Walk ¾-mile course on October 7th. We will meet for the training at the playground near Pavilion D. To guarantee support volunteers for your child, please register by Friday, September 22.

Support will be provided by Spirit Club, The Children’s Spot and student volunteers from University of Maryland and Towson University. Special “Race Clues” will be located along the course to inspire our AMAZING RACERS as they make their way around the course! All racers will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony immediately following the race.

To sign up, please fill out this form. In addition, make sure you’ve also registered
for the event via paper form or online at howard-autism.kintera.org/onestepcloser2017.

12th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala

Thank you to everyone who made our annual 12th Pieces of the Puzzle Gala a success! We are proud to report that the event hosted 265 guests and raised over $80,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and the live and silent auctions.  A transcript of John P. Hussman’s keynote address can be found here. We would like to thank our generous sponsors for their support:

We’d also like to thank our In-Kind Contributors:

AppleFord

NextLOGIK

Sharma & Associates

Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Zippy Shell Portable Storage & Moving – Rich Perry, Storage Unit

For more photos, go to our facebook page!

Bullying Workshop Registration Open!

Join us on May 17th from 9:30-3:30 as we host a workshop titled:  “Bullying of Individuals with Special Needs: What it Means and How You Can Help”.  Funded in part by our HCAS ‘Family Advocacy and Parent Education’ grant through the Department of Community Resources and Services, this event is put on in partnership with HCPSS and RISE for Autism.  For additional information, see this flyer.

Registration can be reached at this link on the RISE website.

Gala Registration

Gala Registration is now closed!  We thank all of you who have purchased tickets and plan to attend.  Looking forward to a great evening!

 

This year’s event, once again held in partnership with the Hussman Foundation, is set for Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 7pm – Midnight at Turf Valley Resort.

To register or learn more about the event, see our gala page here.

Middle School Workgroup on Autism

Report and Recommendations
Howard County Autism Society and Howard County Public School System

In June 2014, a workgroup was formed to address concerns from parents, the Special Education Community Advisory Committee (SECAC), and the Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) with regard to the middle school experience for students with autism. 

The Purpose of the workgroup was to evaluate the program needs of students with autism and related disabilities in middle school and to make recommendations for systemic change aligned with the HCPSS Vision 2018 strategic plan and the Bridge to Excellence Act. In each document, students—including those with disabilities—are to be given access to rigorous curriculum and highly qualified teachers. According to HCPSS, its vision is that “every student is inspired to learn and empowered to excel.”

The Need for this workgroup was agreed upon by the Department of Special Education and families. The increasing number of students with autism in Howard County Public Schools and the intensity of their needs were growing concerns among educators and parents. In addition to the intensity of student needs, a primary concern was improving professional
development with regard to teaching and including students with autism and related
disabilities.

The Goals of the workgroup were to:
1. Collect comprehensive data on the current middle school landscape;
2. Determine barriers to a successful middle school experience for students with autism;
and
3. Formulate recommendations for systemic change that are evidence-based and feasible.

Read the full Middle School Workgroup on Autism Report and Recommendations