Autism Speaks Awards 2012 Family Services Grants to Five St. Louis-Area Service Providers
(ST. LOUIS, MO. – Jan. 25, 2013) – Five St. Louis area service providers will benefit from the family services grants from Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. The grants are part of $1 million in funding by Autism Speaks nationally to expand existing programs to serve more individuals with autism and create new programs that demonstrate true innovation in providing services to improve and enrich the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). St. Louis was among four regions nationwide receiving the grants.
“Providing funding to local organizations to further their work in our communities is very important to Autism Speaks and we are look forward to expanding the Chapter Grant model in 2013,” said Cathy Kanefsky, Autism Speaks vice president of Field and Chapter Development.
In St. Louis, a total of $24,893 in grants were awarded to:
- St. Louis ARC, which assists young children with ASD or social/communication difficulties to improve social skills and learn ways to self-regulate their behaviors. This includes school-Based social skills groups to children at four pilot locations and will include children with and without disabilities.
- Saint Louis University, which offers several programs specifically designed for children, teens, and young adults diagnosed with autism. The programs include music therapy; which facilitates brain stimulation to improve performance in school, work, and life.
- United Cerebral Palsy Heartland-Center for Autism, which provides family consultations, family and community trainings, social skills groups, and technical assistance. As more and more children with autism graduate high school, college, and move onto adulthood, the center vision is to open an Adult Resource Room to be utilized for those specific groups and others in the community.
- Roxana CUSD #1, which is creating a supported employment center to help make a smoother transition to competitive employment for those with autism. As students move through their program, the goal is to empower them with skills to build a spirit of entrepreneurship and independence
- MERS Goodwill – which is developing a new comprehensive service for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in which the program will provide a place where they can go to begin or continue their transition to self-sufficiency. Students will be provided access to the “cognitive prosthetic” software, My Bionic brain, a customized life manger/daily planner designed to meet their needs.
The grants were made through Autism Speaks’ Family Services Chapter Grants and Family Services Community Grants programs.
Recipients for both the Family Services Chapter Grants and the Community Grants are listed on the Autism Speaks website, as well as the searchable online grant database. All applicants have been also been added to the Autism Speaks Family Services Resource Guide as the organization continues to connect families and service providers with resources in their communities. As part of the grant award, all projects must ultimately provide a manual, video, tool kit or similar resource that will be available on the Autism Speaks website so that others may replicate the programs and further enhance services for those affected by ASD.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $195 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships and related activities in over 40 countries on 5 continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.