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Awareness and Advocacy

Philadelphia Cares

Awareness

Our autism awareness initiative is two-pronged and focuses on families living with autism as well as families whose children are developing typically. CAR representatives are frequently sought out to present on early warning signs of autism and ways to promote tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance of children on the spectrum. Presentations are given at camps, YMCA events, mom's clubs, parenting organizations, and other community organizations. CAR attends community events throughout the year to hand out educational materials and answer questions on topics including autism warning signs, prevalence, and causes. CAR researchers and staff also write and contribute to autism articles in mainstream publications both with a regional and national focus. If you are interested in having CAR present to your group or would like to request an article, email autism@email.chop.edu.

Advocacy

Both as an organization and as individuals, CAR and its researchers and staff are committed to advocating for improved services and resources for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Our researchers and staff serve on autism advisory boards, volunteer with autism advocacy organizations, and consult with local, state, and national government officials and departments. To read more about some of our individual contributions, visit the Our Team page of our site.

Act Early Regional Summit

The Act Early Regional Summits bring together parents, scientists, providers, and policy-makers in state teams to design plans for improving early identification and intervention for ASD. Summits are organized by the Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as part of the CDC's "Learn the Signs Act Early Program." On March 25 and 26, 2010, CAR hosted the summit for Region II, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia, and led the Pennsylvania team in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more about the Act Early Regional Summit.

Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism

With the support of Autism Delaware, Drexel University School of Public Health, and Whitesell Corporation, CAR hosted the Philadelphia site of the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) National Town Hall Meeting at Drexel University's Paul Peck Alumni Center, on November 13, 2009. Through a national webcast, networked computers, and wireless keypad technology, more than 1000 participants, spread across 16 sites nationwide, shared their ideas about how to address the needs of adults with autism. In Philadelphia, CAR brought together more than 50 participants, including adults with autism and their family members, autism professionals, employers, and public officials. Topics of discussion included housing, employment, and recreational opportunities. Read a summary of the preliminary national report.

Autism Integration Committee

The Autism Integration Committee (AIC) oversees services delivered to families living with autism at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The overall goal is to improve care and coordination across multiple departments at the Hospital.

Autism Interest Group

The Autism Interest group is a relatively new initiative at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The group is specifically designed for CHOP employees who are parents or family members supporting children with autism spectrum disorders. The group meets every other month on at rotating day, location, and time, to best accommodate a variety of work schedules. Experts are sometimes invited to address the group; other meetings are less structured with time for employees to discuss shared concerns.

Homeless Health Initiative

The Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) is a volunteer outreach program coordinated by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Community Education Department. Volunteers, including LEND Fellows from the Center for Autism Research, help to provide ASD screening to children in area shelters and assist families in accessing important health care services. Learn more about the Homeless Health Initiative.

Huddle Up for Autism

Each year since 2010, CAR has joined with the Philadelphia Eagles to host a free family fun and awareness day. Huddle Up for Autism, held at Lincoln Financial Field, brings together over 5,000 people from the autism community and the general public to learn more about autism through information tables, posters, art, and videos, while engaging in exciting activities like stadium and locker room tours, arts and crafts, and games. The goal of the event is to create an educational environment in a fun setting where all kids and their families can come together for autism awareness.

Volunteerism

CAR staff volunteers with organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region – places where individuals with autism live, learn, work, and play. From painting and cleaning in an area school with an autism support classroom, to adopting a family during the holiday season, to assisting with recreational activities for children with ASD, CAR staff is made up of engaged members of the Greater Philadelphia community.

Below is a sampling of organizations where CAR staff has volunteered:

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