As I mentioned in a recent blog post I am now a member of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia. I am telling everyone this for a few reasons. First off, it is a great organization that helps a lot of people. Second, it is part of a national organization that helps a lot more people. Finally, I want to be clear that while I serve on the board, this blog is my voice, not the voice of either of these two groups.

ASNV, or the Autism Society of Northern Virginia, has been around for quite some time. The website has a ton of useful links. We participate in conferences, hold classes, work with corporations, promote awareness and give grants to folks in the community.

That’s right. We give money back to our own community. That’s a big deal to me. You can check out our listserv on Yahoo Groups. The online resources include applications for the different grant programs, our bylaws and newsletter. You can also check Upcoming Events to see what is coming up in the world of autism in Northern Virginia.

Let me speak to that for a moment. ASNV just recently expanded into Fredericksburg, which is how I got on board. Fredericksburg is the cusp of NOVA, in my opinion, but a larger number of our folks commute to NOVA so I think it makes sense to join a large group that has programming in place and expand it to our area. There is also a Central Virginia chapter that is based in Richmond.

I am working on bringing some events to the Fredericksburg area, and I’ll post some of them here as I get them nailed down. For now, just check the calendar and see what works for you. ASNV works with other disability groups toward common interests, which is another thing I like about them. “Stovepipe thinking” seems to get in the way in our world ,and the more open minded we are the more opportunities we will see for our kids.

The national organization is still known as the Autism Society of America. They do a lot of advocacy and research, and we have been supporters of ASA for years. When we were first confronted with autism, we looked into many organizations. We decided against supporting Autism Speaks because we didn’t feel they focused their money on the community or evidence based practices, choosing instead to fund ridiculous amounts of gene research. We decided against TACANow because there was no local chapter and we didn’t have the time or energy to start one. However, we looked at the Autism Society and liked the fact that they supported biomedical intervention, put money back into the community and had a strong advocacy arm. I feel like we made the right decision. I recommend that if you like it, you join. If you pick a local chapter, the lions share of your $25 a year goes back to your local chapter, be it Central VA, Northern VA, North Carolina, etc.

Finally, here is my disclaimer. Although I am on the board of ASNV and a member of the Autism Society, I do not speak for them. The opinions and advice here on my blog are my own, and in no way reflect what ASNV or the Autism Society believe on the subjects I post about. I feel like folks need to know that so they don’t blame the organizations I support when I say something they don’t like. 🙂

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