The Autism Society of Florida is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). Our board of directors are all volunteer parents of people with autism and adults with autism.  We are an affiliate of the Autism Society of America. For 34 years, we have been working to ensure full participation and self-determination in every aspect of life for people across the autism spectrum. We work every day to empower lives by opening avenues of self-advocacy and advocating on behalf of others in a way that values equity, respect, dignity and diversity in all communities.  

About Autism

 

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability affecting 1 in 44 children in the United States.  
 

Use these quick links to learn more.
 

ABOUT AUTISM

FIRST STEPS

ADULTS WITH AUTISM

Quality Time

2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Wed, Jun 1, 2022 – Wed, Nov 30, 2022

PREPARE TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE 

 

With hurricane season in full throttle, and Hurricane Ian possibly directly impacting Florida in the coming days, we wanted to share some information to help you prepare.

 

Social stories created by our affiliate in North Carolina that you may find useful for your loved one with autism:

 

For up-to-date information, please monitor local news and use the Florida Division of Emergency Management website. 

https://www.floridadisaster.org/

Hurricane Tips

First, try not to alarm your loved one with autism.

Keep as many routines in place as possible while preparing for the possible emergency. If they have questions, try using visual aids such as social narratives or checklists to explain to them what you are doing to prepare. Focus on the positive: Your family might have to do some new things to prepare, but you will be safe.

Gather items for an emergency.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management website provides helpful information on building an emergency kit https://www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/. Do that now, so you will be prepared if a storm does strike. In addition to the usual list of water, nonperishable food, and first-aid items, add anything that will reduce stress for your loved one with autism. If you have duplicates of comfort items such as favorite toys or blankets, add them to your kit. If not, add a list of those items that you will pack at the last minute in case of evacuation. Include extra batteries or rechargeable power blocks for electronics and items such as iPads or phones. If your family takes any medications, be sure you have enough on hand for several days. Also remember to have some cash in case power is out and you cannot use credit or debit cards.

Consider evacuating.

If you have a safe place to which you can evacuate, it may be easier to do it sooner rather than later, when many others are on the move. If state or local officials advise evacuation, please take their recommendation seriously. First responders may not be able to get to your family if you stay and need assistance later.

Keep updated. The Florida Division of Emergency Management also offers updated information on the forecast, government announcements, traffic, shelters, flooding, and more. 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hurricane-american-red-cross/id545689128.

We are fueled by passion and the desire to empower every person with autism and their families. People with autism have unique gifts and can contribute to their communities in many ways. We're fortunate to have them in our lives. The best advocacy occurs with education, respect and the presumption of competence for all. 

To learn more about our initiatives click the link below.

PREMIER FIRST RESPONDER TRAINING

ASF provides autism training for police officers and other first responders with information and life saving techniques to assist in encounters between professionals and children and adults with autism.

Training includes recognizing the signs of ASD, handling behavioral challenges, de-escalation strategies, elopement issues, helpful resources and much more.

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COMMUNITY AND LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY

Our board advocates for and contributes to crafting legislation to protect, empower and improve the quality of life for people with autism in all aspects of life.​ We forge relationships with legislators as well as people in our communities to educate, inform and create awareness about the needs of individuals with autism in Florida. 

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DROWNING PREVENTION

Drowning is the #1 cause of death in autism and Florida leads the way in child drownings resulting in death. Kids with ASD are 160 times more likely to experience nonfatal and fatal drowning than their neurotypical peers. The Autism Society of Florida provides swim lesson scholarships that help to save lives. Training in autism is provided to water safety instructors to prepare them for teaching necessary skills to children and adults with autism. 

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PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS

Our kids don’t come with a special manual or born to parents who have a certain set of skills. We learn as we go. Sometimes we figure things out fairly quickly, and sometimes it takes years of hard work and perspiration. If we try to do it all alone, or feel that we’ve been abandoned by those we once counted on, life can easily begin to feel as though it’s impossible. Join our support group.

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