Thankful Tuesday

2017 Achievements

2017 is coming to an end, and we are excited to share with you all that we were able to achieve this year because of your generosity. 

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January

Kicked off the new year with our first Community Enrichment presentation by hosting the Neuro Development Clinic event of Social Thinking delivered by Betsey Jacobs in Fairbanks at ACCA.

Danielle attended our first All Alaska Pediatric Partnership meeting in Fairbanks with an invite by Tamar, the executive director.

Fairbanks Community Mental Health Clinic received a 101 presentation on ASA and Autism from the Autism Society of Alaska.

Alaska State Trooper Captain Ron Wall and Danielle Tessen presented on Project Lifesaver at the Fairbanks Chamber meeting and received sponsorship of bracelets after presentation.

February

Community Enrichment: ASA Board member Theresa Sabens and presentation partner Traci Roon spoke at Fairbanks Community Mental Health on Sensory Processing.

Myway Matinee 3 month trial began in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings after a year of asking.

Began the process for submitting an Alaska Autism License Plate Bill with National’s advice as a fundraising method, unfortunately the bill did not pass.

Our board member Joshua kicked off his Community Outreach with a table at a UAF Hockey Night.

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We were selected as a non-profit in the McHenry Ball tournament at North Pole Middle school and funds were raised on our behalf from the student’s North Pole Champions for Charity also held a bingo night and auction.

March

Community Enrichment: Brandy, Danielle and Denys presented at TVC to the medical professionals on Autism and how to better partner with ASA.

ASA helped get the Wrights Law Training streamed to Fairbanks at UAF thanks to Stone Soup Group.

We hosted a fundraising paint nite at Pioneer Park.

Myway Matinee 3 month trial in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings.

Dance 2 fit hosted a wonderful third party event fundraiser.

ASA partnered with AARC to host autism self advocate Dani Bowman at Pioneer Park.

Joshua joined the FASD Sensory Swim as the ASA representative.

April

April was Autism Awareness Month!

Community Enrichment: Bio medical approach to Autism with Suzette Mailloux at the Public Library.

The annual Human Ribbon at UAF Theresa and Danielle presented at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.

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ASA held two more Paint Nite fundraisers at Gambardella’s and Salcha.

UAF School of Education Hosted a third party fundraiser with a silent auction and donated the money raised to help fund our 2nd Annual Alaska Autism Conference keynote speaker.

Fairbanks Children’s Museum held a sensory friendly version of their interactive performance play.

Myway Matinee PASSED the month trial and began year round in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings.

Soldotna hosted an Extravaganza event.

May

We were selected as Papa John’s Charity of the month.

June

9th Annual Alaska 5k for Autism.

Betsey Jacobs and Danielle Tessen presented to Morning Star Ranch on Autism, Zones of Regulation per their request on how to improve their relationships with their adults with autism.

We were able to approve one scholarship for a camper to attend Camp Yes in the Woods.

Danielle and Joshua ran an activity on “your feet are not for kicking” at Camp Yes in the Woods.

August

Executive Director Danielle, Board Secretary Denys and President Brandy present a training to the CTC Law Enforcement Academy on autism and focused on signs and suggestions for positive and effective interactions with those who experience autism and their support systems and care providers.

Joshua attended the Tanana Valley State Fair and took part in the American Disability Act celebration and awareness day activities.20664973_10155101720299585_4219217782893141669_n

Danielle, Denys and Brandy presented to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Emergency Room Staff/Nurses on the same curriculum after a parent reached out on an issue her family experienced at the hospital.

Children’s Museum sensory day with Joshua as our representative.

October

In October we hosted Michelle Garcia Winner and 8 State guest speakers at our 2nd Alaska State Autism Conference.

In addition to the conference, Paige Talvi put together an amazing evening event, a silent auction beer and wine tasting fundraiser.DSC_0114

Partnered with Alaska Autism Resource Center and Stone Soup Group to host a presentation for running your own support group.

Fairbanks hosted the first Wings for All program in partnership with The Arch of Anchorage and FRA.

November

Joshua attended a community outreach event on Fort Wainwright.

December

Host our 4th Annual Sensory Santa event.


Thank You!

The Autism Society of Alaska is approaching GivingTuesday a little different this year. Instead of asking for Y-O-U to give to US, we want to take the day to THANK you for all the giving you have done all year long. Without YOU we do not exist.

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We would like to give a ThankfulTuesday shoutout to all of the volunteers who have positively impacted ASA with their generosity. Here are a few we want to take some time to focus on from 2017:

Caitlin Frye, our grant writer
Amanda Lash, our walk director for our  9th Annual 5k
Paige Talvi and her entire team, ran our Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction
Gene Lunney, donated the Roundup Steakhouse, food, and alcohol for our auction
George and Amy Viltrakis, our Sensory Santa and his wife
Scott Lonergan, Event Graphic Design Consultant
Mark Christensen, Tech support
We also want to thank all of our board members from the past and all of our current members:
Brandy Raby, President
Denys Collins, Secretary
Dawn Ham, Treasurer
Joshua Kamerick, Board Member who Experiences Autism
Alana Frazier, Board Member in the Professional Field
Heidi Haas, Founding Honorary Board Member
Betsey Jacobs, Honorary Board Member
*If you would like to volunteer your time, talent or treasure to ASA please connect with us. It takes every type of skill to keep an organization running.
http://www.asagoldenheart.org/volunteer

Sponsors

2017 9th Annual 5k for Autism:23755391_10155367346219585_9102009596387734617_n
Building Blocks
Greer Tank and Welding
Kinross Fort Knox
Fairbanks Native Association
Alaska Frontier
Ear Nose and Throat
Madden Real Estate
Fairbanks Behavior
96.9 River 98.1 k-Wolf
Nomadic Stars
DJay Entertainment

2017 2nd Annual Alaska Autism Conference:
Alaska Mental Health Trust Grant
SESA
AARC
UAF School of Ed
Hussman Grant
Governors Council
Building Blocks
Greer Tank
Baker Insurance
Arctic Pathways
Local 375
302 Operators Union
Sourdough Express
Laborers’ Local 942
Mt McKinley Bank
Fairbanks Memorial hospital

2017 4th Annual Sensory Santa:
Greer Tank

Safety Partners

14370121_10154124430879585_6528352622558162308_nSafety is important to the mission of us at ASA. Without our fantastic safety partners we can not achieve our mission! Thank you to both Alaska State Troopers Project Lifesaver and
UAF CTC Law Enforcement Safety Training for reaching out to us to partner.

 

 

 

There are so many more sponsors, partners, and volunteers we would like to thank. Without each and every one of you, nothing we do would be possible.  As a non profit, we rely heavily on those that support us in many different ways. Thank you!


*Donations are tax deductible if you would like to still take part in GivingTuesday.  You can donate online by visiting http://www.asagoldenheart.org/donate OR send donations to: 607 Old Steese Hwy, Suite B #285 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 & make checks out to: Autism Society of Alaska.

 

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Beer&Wine Tasting Silent Auction

Over 100 people attended the Autism Society of Alaska’s first Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction

Written by Denys Collins

Over 100 people attended the Autism Society of Alaska’s first Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction on October 5th, 2017. The money raised will go a long way towards helping Alaskan families impacted by autism. The auction and tasting, which took place at Roundup Steakhouse, made over $9,000 through ticket and auction item sales.

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This festive event was highlighted by an impressive amount of widely varied items generously donated including:

  • Fully stocked fishing boat rental
  • Cabin stay
  • Art by Alaskan artist Karla Morreira
  • Gift certificates for the Nutcracker Ballet
  • An entire table of homemade desserts

DSC_0124 While bidding on items, attendees were able to try numerous types of beers, wines, and spirits including  Alaskan made whiskeys from Arctic Harvest. The tasting tables and auction items began in the lower level of Roundup Steakhouse then flowed upstairs, stocking the second level. Sounds of friends and families engaging in lighthearted bidding wars and conversations filled the DSC_0077restaurant. We were even lucky enough to have Michelle Garcia Winner, the creator of Social Thinking and keynote speaker from this year’s Autism Conference, join the fun.

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The atmosphere of this event was unlike many of those we have previously held. This allowed for a new group of generous community members to help support local individuals that experience autism and their families. This was one of our most successful events yet. We were able to raise over $9,000 which will allow us to continue:

  • Holding trainings for first responders
  • Accommodate sensory friendly events
  • Hosting Community Enrichment Nights
  • Accessing resources for individuals and families

It truly was a community event from those that planned the event to those that ran it. It would not have been possible without the assistance of countless people.  Gene Lunney, the owner of Roundup Steakhouse’s hospitality and kindness are unsurpassed. He provided not only the venue but also the food and alcohol. The help of Paige Talvi, Stefanie Bell, and their crew of volunteers was invaluable. They were vital to the solicitation of amazing donations,  the beautiful set up, and the quick and painless check out. As a non profit, we are nothing without the community that supports us.  It was a beautiful night watching the community come together to support local families impacted by autism.

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*All photos courtesy of our amazing volunteer photographer, Chelsey Klos with Willow Photography

2nd Autism Conference Call for Papers

Alaska Autism Society of Alaska Conference Call for Papers

The Autism Society of Alaska’s 2nd Annual State Conference will be held October 5th and 6th in Fairbanks Alaska. 

If you wish to submit a proposal to present at one or more sessions at our 2017 conference, please note the following important information:

  • Submissions will only be accepted at our email address: autism907@gmail.com
  • All submissions must be received by August 8th, 2017.
  • A disclosure form (identifying potential conflicts of interest) will be required for all presentations. Please note the Autism Society of Alaska conference presentations cannot promote or advertise a commercial product or service without disclosure. All presentations will be permitted at the discretion of the Autism Society of Alaska.
  • All selected presenters will be notified by August 22nd, 2017.
  • All presenters must register for the conference.  Attendance fees will be waived for presenters. A registration code will be sent to speakers once approved.

 

BEFORE YOU SUBMIT – THINGS TO CONSIDER

 

The Autism Society uses People First language and encourages you to do the same. When preparing your proposal, keep in mind the audience is professionals, individuals on the autism spectrum, family members and advocates. Your presentation must encompass something for everyone and language should reflect the diversity of our conference attendees.

 

Presentations should include how your topic would help the audience to learn more about or help achieve one or more of these according to the lifespan topics indicated:

  1. Adult topics: Self-advocacy, transition, relationships, self-identity, housing pathways.
  2. Employment: What are options for employees & employers?
  3. Alaska Insurance: Medicaid, Alaska required insurance & social security.
  4. Financial: Abel Act, setting up a trust, care when primary providers are gone.
  5. Communication: Alternative communication options for nonverbal individuals, as well as the providers. Caregivers and support systems.
  6. IEP/504: What is an IEP, how do I get one, what does it allow, is this just for education or for college and employment as well?
  7. Healthy Lifestyles: How to spark interest and get started and what is available in Alaska?
  8. Diagnosis: Who can diagnose in Alaska. How to get a diagnosis as a minor as well as an adult. What is the next step after receiving a diagnosis?
  9. Services: What agencies, services and therapies are available in Alaska? What are the programs (i.e care coordination, STAR, mini grants, wait list, waivers, TEFRA, tri-care ECHO (military) respite, day habilitation, in home support , job coaches)
  10. Home therapies: What are things that can be done at home to help with sleep, eating, transitions, family and community engagement and interactions?
  11. Families: How can we support our siblings? How can we maintain healthy relationships, friendships and marriage? What can I do when I feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed about being a primary caregiver? How can we manage through everyday stresses?

STEPS & INSTRUCTIONS: Presenters

Biographical Sketch

In addition to contact information, please provide a biographical sketch for each presenter, in 50 words maximum.  Presenter(s) and co-author listing must include credentials (Ph.D., etc.)

Example bio

Temple Grandin, Ph.D. 

Dr. Temple Grandin is an internationally respected specialist in designing livestock handling systems. She is the most well-renowned individual with autism in the world today. Dr. Grandin is a best-selling author and activist.

Note: presenters submitting a presentation for a Continuing Education session must include a CV/Resume, 100 words maximum

Title of Presentation

Come up with a good, intriguing session title.  It’s the first and perhaps only impression you’ll make on a potential attendee. The primary purpose of a title is to get the attendee to read the first sentence of the description. Here is an example of a session title, and how it should be written:

Example 1:  A Long and Winding Road: An Examination of the Transition Process for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Example 2:  Peer Mediated Supports for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Learning Objectives 

(maximum 50 words for each learning objective: minimum two, maximum three) Craft strong learning objectives. Please complete two (2) out of three (3) Learning Objectives for each proposal in your submission. Any submission with fewer than two will be declined. It is crucial that you follow the guidelines for writing learning objectives as described below. There is a limit of 50 words for each learning objective. Strong Learning Objectives have three distinguishing characteristics: (1) observable, (2) measurable, (3) must match the content of your proposal as described in your title, description, and content plan. Encouragement of using active verbs that indicate what will be taught, demonstrated, or experienced. Here are examples of action verbs: Identify, summarize, list, describe, differentiate, discuss, compute, predict, explain, demonstrate, utilize, analyze, design, select, create, plan, assess, compare, critique, write, apply, demonstrate, prepare, use, compile, revise.

 

The following are three examples of well-written learning objectives using active verbs.  Participants who attend this presentation will be able to:

 

Example 1: List three attributes of autism spectrum disorder.

Example 2: Compare and contrast the characteristics of night terrors versus nightmares.

Example 3: Describe three clinical techniques to use when an individual with autism is suffering from disturbing nightmares or having sleepless nights.

 

Description of Presentation

(50 words maximum) The description must provide and be reflective of your title and your content plan. A session description should get the reader to say, “Hmm, that sounds interesting.” Choose the right words to accurately describe the session, pull readers in and get them to commit to attending the session and see the benefits of the presentation. This description is what attendees will see in the conference program.

 

Content Plan

This description must provide information that is essential to the review process. The content plan should include: details on the content that will be provided and sufficient information to determine how the session contributes to best practice and advances the field of autism spectrum disorders.  Abstracts are limited to 500 words maximum.

 

July 4th Weekend

Sharing resources to create a safe and successful fourth of July

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All information is from http://positivelyautism.weebly.com/

A social story can help prepare your child for an activity or event. Here’s a free 4th of July social story from Positively Autism: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/4thofJulysocialskillstory.pdf

Tips for Celebrating the Fourth of July with a Child with Autism –http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/tips-for-celebrating-the-fourth-of-july-with-a-child-with-autism/2013/07/03/61338406-e265-11e2-80eb-3145e2994a55_story.html

Parent Tips: Surviving 4th of July Fireworks –http://www.pathfindersforautism.org/articles/view/parent-tips-surviving-4th-of-july-fireworks

10 Tips for Enjoying Fireworks on the 4th of July with Autism –http://www.abpathfinder.com/fireworkswithautism/

Holidays & Autism

.::Happy Holidays from the Autism Society of Alaska::.

The Autism Society of Alaska held a Sensory Santa event in Soldotna and a second Sensory Santa event in Fairbanks this December.  ASA provided an opportunity for families to enjoy a quiet, sensory friendly Santa visit for children who often times find themselves overwhelmed with Santa visits. This event is designed to assist individuals with various disabilities, including autism, who have a difficult time waiting in line, staying calm, dislike loud noises or lights, but wish to enjoy the Christmas spirit and create memories with their family.

Each year families with children, who experience autism or other special needs, find it quite challenging during the holiday season. The Sensory Santa event allows children with sensory sensitivity to enjoy meeting Santa, in a much calmer and less overwhelming environment.

What about events other than visiting Santa?

The holidays can provide numerous challenging situations for families who experience autism or other special needs. We often envision the holidays as a Hallmark movie or a picture perfect greeting card. In the end, remember to celebrate what makes your family happy because it is a time to cherish those we love. Start new traditions and adjust the season to make the holidays “picture perfect” in a way that makes sense for your family. Get messy, laugh, and enjoy this time of year the way YOUR family knows how. Whatever it looks like. Send out the photo that truly captures your family and not one that looks like it came with the frame.

Although that sounds good, sometimes we need more. Visit the link below for more guidance on how to survive this holiday season.The Autism Society of America created a list of holiday tips for you to print out and live by!

http://www.pathfindersforautism.org/docs/Holiday-Tips-for-Families-Living-with-Autism.pdf

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Crisis Intervention Training with UAF CTC Law Enforcement Academy

On November 2nd the Autism Society of Alaska’s Board President conducted a Crisis Intervention Training to the UAF Community and Technical College Law Enforcement Academy.

“This training is part of the Law Enforcement Academy’s ongoing effort to provide cultural awareness training with the goal that students will be able to assess a situation and perform a reasonable and appropriate response.”

Community and Technical College

The Autism Society of Alaska’s partnership with UAF CTC Law Enforcement is to inform the academy on what autism is, statistics about autism, identifying autism, and providing them with a variety of suggested responses when interacting with an individual on the spectrum. Through a training such as this, we at ASA can better equip the officers with de-escalation techniques for when they encounter an individual on the spectrum.

“Our goal of inclusive participation in all areas of life is being realized. As a result it is our responsibility to make as many education opportunities available to help ensure that these moments of interaction are positive, appropriate and as safe as possible for everyone.”

Brandy Raby, ASA Board President

The other side of the safety process is training families on the programs available. There are safety measures families can take in order to help First Responders and Law Enforcement. Families can take part in The Yellow Dot Program and the Smart911 Program.

Yellow Dot Program

Alaska is the 23rd State to join the Yellow Dot Program. This program is designed to alert first responders and officers that someone in the vehicle has a medical condition and provides detailed medical information that can be crucial following a crash. The purpose of the program is to alert law enforcement officers, and medical first responders of any special information to better assist the situation. Participants of the program receive a “Yellow Dot” decal, a “Yellow Dot” folder and an information form with the participant’s name, an identifying photo, emergency contact information, personal physicians’ information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and medications being used. We encourage all families with an individual on the spectrum to become part of the Yellow Dot Program to help first responders.

http://www.adn.com/article/20120214/alaska-becomes-23rd-state-yellow-dot-med-alert-program

Smart911 Program

Smart911 allows citizens to create a safety profile of vital personal and household data. Specifically to autism, this profile allows people to including details on medications, medical conditions, and any information that is needed in order to effectively assist or interact with people during an emergency situation. This information is automatically available to 9-1-1 call takers when a citizen places an emergency call and can be sent to first responders in the field, enabling them to act precisely, save valuable time and further reduce tragic outcomes and save lives. The autism society of Alaska strongly encourages families to set up a profile with this program.

http://www.fairbanksalaska.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Smart911-Press-Release.pdf

The Autism Society of Alaska’s procedure for safety is a twofold process: we inform both parties by educating first responders and law enforcement along with families of those on the spectrum. We believe through each training we can make a positive impact in Alaska.

Do you know of a training opportunity for ASA?

Contact the Executive Director, Danielle Tessen, at autism907@gmail.com

What Does The Autism Society of Alaska Actually Do?

As the executive director of The Autism Society of Alaska, I am constantly asked:

“What does The Autism Society of Alaska Actually do?”

The goal of our blog is to answer this exact question.

We have created a space to keep the public informed on events, programs, conferences, and the simple day to day activities we are involved in. Our goal is to connect on a personal level with our audience by sharing tips, resources, and answering your blog topic requests.

This space is created for you.

I will leave you with our mission statement to begin answering the question,

 “Who is the Autism Society of Alaska?”

Our Mission

To improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research, and advocacy.

I look forward to connecting with you.

Danielle Tessen
Executive Director
The Autism Society of Alaska