A tribute to our employees and community.
Spring is Here
See what we have in store for you this season.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Here's what happened in 2014 and will be happening in the year to come
Celebrating Familiar Faces
ASI enters 2014 celebrating anniversaries and announcing new and exciting events
Recognizing Community Partnerships
ASI honours the many organizations in the Western New York community that have opened their doors to ASI
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI cuts the ribbon of a new school!
Run for Autism
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI announces the second annual Run the 'Burg for Autism. Don't miss it!
Making Their Mark
For this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI acknowledges over two dozen employees who have reached career milestones with the agency.
ASI Introduces the Ziggurat Model
Continuing our mission to provide services that focus on the needs of the individual, Autistic Services has recently adopted The Ziggurat Model...
2010 Year End Review
Last year we vowed to build on past successes and set our sights even higher. This year, with your help, the Arts Work Program has accomplished this goal, and more.
Bringing Autism Into the Homes
To help families face the challenge of finding the right environment for their child, Autistic Services has partnered with Coldwell Banker Chubb to assess prospective homes as being Sensory Safe for people with Autism.
The True Colors of Autism
From the beginning the autistic child sees and experiences the world in a way we do not. A fixation with sights, patterns, textures etc. lends itself to the language of the arts. Artists at ASI take up their brushes at an early age.
Walking on Sunshine
Clifford & Kathy Kepner have transformes 45 acres of land into an outdoor sensorium named "Sunshine Garden". For 3 years they have welcomed the people from ASI to drop in and commune with nature.
My Trip To See Barack Obama
Of the nearly 304 million citizens of this country, only 1.5 million of them were lucky enough to attend the inauguration. Mariam was one of those lucky people. This is her story about her trip to see Obama.
"It's All About Me."
Introducing Elizabeth Harzewski... A Poet. Writer. River Scientist. And Solver of Mysteries. There's no such thing as boring with Liz.
The Neil Sanders Show
For this issue we place the spotlight on Neil Anthony Sanders, and his new adventures in radio podcasting.
Autism Awareness Month
Tell your friends that April is booked solid. Better yet, tell them that their month is booked too. Because this issue we are going to show you why April will be A Month to Remember...
Support is the Lifeline of Service
In this Winter 2007 issue, we acknowledge the ongoing support and contributions from members of our community.
In the world of television and broadcast, appearances are everything. Radio on the other hand is free of that burden. Disc Jockeys could show up for work in their PJs and it would make no difference. The weight they carry is all in their voice and personality. So much so, that radio disc jockeys go out of their way to bloat their presence with more personality than anyone could handle in person. From smooth and casual to loud and exaggerated, what we hear on the airwaves would be more befitting of a comic strip if we were ever to put a face to it. Neil Sanders, a program participant at Autistic Services, has a similar extroverted personality. Only in Neil’s case, when he speaks loud and with a certain declarative inflection, it is not a persona – it is his person.
Neil is a higher functioning Autistic, which means he is quite a capable individual and very intelligent. His single passion is with all things broadcasting, and he invests most of his waking hours ingesting just about everything on TV, YouTube and Radio. However, while some of us might do these things for entertainment, Neil’s motivation appears to be information. He takes noticeable pride in being able to report all of the latest happenings in true radio fashion. A casual conversation with Neil feels as if you are speaking with an anchorman. So it made sense to somehow get Neil’s voice on the airwaves.
If you visit the FriendsofASI.org Website you will see a link that directs you to “The Neil Sanders Show.” It is not radio, but the next best thing: podcasting. It is Neil’s stage to do what comes naturally, and from the moment he hits the record button his voice wakes you up with a booming welcome. His usual formula involves weather forecasts and celebrity reportage – almost always by memory. However, each week Neil gets a little more creative by introducing topics that you just will not find on regular radio. For instance: The Apocalypse. More than a few of his shows has found him lashing out at any claims or predictions of the worlds end.
The History Channel, after scheduling a show entitled, “Countdown to Armageddon”, was his most recent target. Another unlikely target is radio itself. Neil’s show often comes across as a parody of how radio and TV uses such obtuse angles to hook audiences. By inadvertently adopting the “newspeak” used by broadcast personalities, Neil satirizes the exaggerated factoid language of television and radio.
As the show matures, Neil’s topic range has expanded to include featured guests that have included other members of the disabled and autism populations. This collection of colorful interviews has The Neil Sanders Show serving as a stage for self-advocacy and awareness. WNED’s recently retired Goldie Gardner also made an appearance, offering her two cents about how much the disability population has to offer our community.
The Neil Sanders Show is only four months old, so it is still too early to conclusively measure how many people the show manages to reach. However, given the range of topics and the vivid nature of Neil’s personality, it is easy to believe that with enough time, Neil may have his own cult following. Not that any of this matters to Neil. To watch him as he turns on the computer and steps proudly onto his virtual sound-stage, it becomes clear that, true to the nature of autism, the show is not about us or even for us. It is for him. It is his voice. His show. His half hour. His time to shine.
Autistic Services Dines at Brodo
On Saturday and Sunday, August 23rd and 24th, The Elmwood Festival of the Arts will be making its Ninth celebration on Buffalo’s hallmark avenue. We are proud to announce that the artists at Autistic Services will be among the 170+ artists featured at this popular event. And you can find us at Brodo, located at 765 Elmwood Avenue.
The exhibit runs from August 4th thru the 24th. We will be holding a reception on the 24th from 3pm to 5pm, with select works being available for sale. So if you cannot wait until the 23rd or 24th, or if you are looking to dine before enjoying some truly unique art, head over to Brodo and you will find us there. Past exhibitions brought us many price inquiries for several of our pieces, so we are also happy to say that all art at Brodo will be available for sale.
It is guaranteed to be a great time, and our presence at Brodo gives our artists and their work and the topic of autism much needed exposure in the community. We would love to see you there, showing your support.
Samantha Harris Comes to Buffalo?
There is more than one reason why Neil Sanders took center stage for this issue. A man of all seasons and many talents, Neil’s outrageous and, admittedly, somewhat provocative painting of celebrity Samantha Harris steals the spotlight for our Featured Artist and Painting. In the magazine world, celebrities sell, and so it made sense to make Neil’s starlet portrait the poster-child for our exhibition at Brodo. So do not be surprised if you hear about a few Samantha Harris sightings around Brodo.
And, of course, you’ll find this poppin’ portrait on display and for sale at Brodo.
Despite the increasing numbers of autism incidents, the awareness of autism and its behavioral symptoms have yet to become common knowledge among typical populations. Unlike most disabilities, autism has no physical cues to let others know that they are interacting with someone with special needs. No one knows this more than those with Asperger’s. In many cases, it is an understatement to say that someone with Asperger’s is “higher functioning.” Not only can these individuals function among typical groups, but they also tend to exceed performance standards set by those groups. Intellectual depth and rigorous analytical skills are trademark of Asperger’s, and yet, a seamless merger with society is difficult because typical persons often do not know that they are communicating with someone with Asperger’s.
Human interaction and camaraderie are among the basic needs of being human. A little over a year ago I decided the best way to meet this need was to set the stage for a monthly Asperger’s group. The location was established right here at the Autistic Services agency, with our first meeting welcoming a modest four attendees. But that was only the beginning. To date, our numbers are pushing closer to thirty attendees, which would be an average of two new attendees per meeting. Of course, the numbers are not as important as the qualitative impact that the attendees are having on each other. At the very least, this is a social gathering that comes together one day out of each month to support the others’ challenges and celebrate hard earned personal victories.
A few short weeks ago, one of the first attendees shared with me his own personal breakthrough while visiting Buffalo’s City Mission. His letter called into attention the number of individuals staying at the City Mission who were clearly on the autism spectrum. The writer of this letter was, at one time, also homeless. Though he expressed his dismay of the situation, he congratulated the work at the City Mission, and the progress of our small Asperger’s group. His letter was, all at once, poignant, funny, frustrated and refreshingly hopeful.
I invite all those who read this to help spread the word about our Asperger’s Group. If you know someone with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism (HFA) who is looking to be among friends, or if you would like to be a guest at one of our meetings, please contact me so that we can make special arrangements. Our growing community is available to you.