One of the hardest things about feeling different or experiencing difficulties is feeling like you are alone. Not knowing what to do, who to talk to, or where to tun can be very disheartening. Even worse, in situations, it can be dangerous when you are forced to make difficult decisions on your own without the necessary tools to connections to decide what’s best.
This is why Autism Connection of PA exists. They have a three-pronged approach to helping individuals and families of people who have a diagnosis of autism to navigate society and day-to-day life in a way that allow for joy, competence, and security.
- Support – Perhaps the most important function of Autism Connection of PA is how it acts as a lifeline for people on the Autism spectrum and the ones who love them. The phones ring frequently in their offices with people looking for help. Help managing money. Help making appointments. Help finding a place to live. Help knowing what to do in a situation. Sometimes it’s just a call that helps the caller get beyond a feeling of loneliness.
- Advocacy – Autism Connection of PA also works to be, facilitate, or strengthen the advocate for an individual with autism or the family members who are caring for him. This can sometimes mean training and connecting volunteers with an individual diagnosed with autism from the community, but it can also mean coming along-side a family member or trusted friend to help them become a strong advocate. The point is to make certain that somebody whose voice might not have been heard otherwise has the opportunity to be heard and have his rights upheld.
- Education – Autism Connection of PA is connected to 76 (and counting) support groups for people with autism and their families. They are able to provide education and structure for these meetings, as well as participating in a wide variety of seminars, conferences, trainings for the workplace and community services. The goal here is to help the public understand autism and the unique ways that it manifests in individuals so that we can all better understand, help, and interact.
There are a couple of event on the Autism Connection of PA calendar that I’d really like to point out. On October 27th there will be a sensory-friendly Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot of the organization’s Etna office. Additionally, they are sponsoring three separate Autism Friendly Santa times at local malls in early December. Follow this link for more specifics.
Like most non-profit organizations, the strength and reach of Autism Connection of PA depends upon it’s supporters. This small office cannot handle all the needs without help. They rely on the advocates and volunteers that they are able to train, as well as the donations that come in from organizations and individuals who recognize the important work that they are doing. If you’d be able to help out in either of those capacities, I’d encourage you to click here to learn more and to reach out.
If you’ll consider your life, you’d probably agree that one thing that most of us need is a relationship with a connector. Or perhaps you’d rather call them a helper. In any event, I’m thinking about a person who knows things, and who knows people. Who understands you problem and help you fix it. More than anything, that is what the good people of Autism Connection of PA are. They are that helper for adults with autism or the parents of children with autism. Because of this organization that relief, that solution, that listening ear is just a phone call away.