Creating meaningful opportunities that enrich the lives of people with autism, their families and their communities.

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Autistic Services Inc.
Current Issue:
Celebrating You

A tribute to our employees and community.
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Spring is Here
See what we have in store for you this season.
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Autistic Services Inc.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Here's what happened in 2014 and will be happening in the year to come
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Autistic Services Inc.

Celebrating Familiar Faces
ASI enters 2014 celebrating anniversaries and announcing new and exciting events
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Autistic Services Inc.
Recognizing Community Partnerships
ASI honours the many organizations in the Western New York community that have opened their doors to ASI
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Autistic Services Inc.

New Beginnings
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI cuts the ribbon of a new school!
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Run for Autism
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI announces the second annual Run the 'Burg for Autism. Don't miss it!
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Making Their Mark
For this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI acknowledges over two dozen employees who have reached career milestones with the agency.
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Autistic Services Inc.
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...
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Autistic Services Inc.
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.
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Autistic Services Inc. 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.
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Autistic Services Inc.

Autistic Services Inc. 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.
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Autistic Services Inc.

Autistic Services Inc. 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.
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Autistic Services Inc.

Autistic Services Inc.
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.
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Autistic Services Inc.

Autistic Services Inc.

"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.
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Autistic Services Inc.

The Neil Sanders Show
For this issue we place the spotlight on Neil Anthony Sanders, and his new adventures in radio podcasting.
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Autistic Services Inc.
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...
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Autistic Services Inc.

Support is the Lifeline of Service
In this Winter 2007 issue, we acknowledge the ongoing support and contributions from members of our community.
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Autistic Services Inc.

 

Autism Painting Article Header

From the very beginning the autistic child is neurologically predisposed to seeing and experiencing the world in a way we do not. Parents know this all too well when they witness their child showing an unrelenting fixation with sights, patterns, textures and objects that to a typical person are mundane. Of course, sights, patterns, textures and objects all belong to the language of artists, which makes the person on the spectrum ideal contributors to the landscape of visual arts.

The artists at Autistic Services take up their brush at an early age. Dana Ranke, the teaching artist for the arts education program, helps children as young as 5 years old  translate their sensory-seeking habits into colorful canvases. It all begins with select materials that are geared towardssatisfying multiple sensory modalities: Traditional paints, finger paints, clay, playdough, paper weaving, paper collage, textile collage, stencils, stickers, scratch paper, leaf printing. These are just some of the tools at their disposal – literally. “Some are still learning the basics,” Dana says smiling, “markers are left uncapped, paint gets spilled and papers get ripped, it is all part of the learning process. But overall there is a deep affinity for the media. Whether it is paint, pastel, wood or photography, our artists have an attraction to, and feel at ease with the materials they are working with.”  Exposure to a multitude of art-making materials and resources are a goldmine to both artist and autistic alike. This is why Dana sees little difference between the two: “I actually see many similarities between our artists and those referred to as great artists. Our artists have an ability to express subject matter and use materials in an original way; there is a clarity and directness in the work.”

Six Paintings
Dana is referring to both the young artists in her classroom and the adult artists who, after graduating from the education program, are able to continue their artistic endeavors at the Buffalo and Williamsville locations. “In the education program there are 12 classes divided by age range.” She explains. “The youngest students are in the age 5-7 class. Students in the program may graduate at a maximum age of 21, so in those classes the students are older teenagers and young adults. There are 6 students in each class.”  Because all classes participate in the art program, by the end of each week, Dana will have acted as art instructor for all 72 students. 

Tyler creating his Art WorkThe works done in the education program, including those works done by the adult programs are all included in a travelling exhibition throughout the year. Working along side the adult program’s two teaching artists, Todd Lesmeister and Brian Kavanaugh, Dana assists in the coordination of these exhibitions. This gives her a chance to see the maturation of styles between both groups. “Many of them have already begun to gravitate toward specific media and their work has a recognizable ‘style’ and consistent subject matter. I have several students, a few in the 10- to 12-year-old age range who have adamant preferences as to media, technique, and content in the work they do. In one case there are sophisticated film and media references, such as to the director, Fellini. In another, there is a maturity in paint handling and color mixing.”

Community participation is an obvious hallmark of success, but for our agency the receptivity of our artists is the true symbol of  the program’s success. Engagement is not a given with Autism and yet, as Dana has noticed, some of the program’s students are warming up to making appearances at their exhibitions. “I think what attracts people to the work is its very distinctive point of view. It is a combination of the unique content and their facility for expressing that content. Not all the students will make appearances, but I do have some who enjoy exhibiting their work and attending art openings.”

Accomplished artists they are, albeit, putting a definition on ‘accomplished art’ is as difficult as putting a definition on Autism. Art and Autism have much in common. As Dana concludes, “We have a very wide range of abilities here, with autism it is impossible to generalize.”


Autism Painting
What art collector wouldn’t love to hear those words? And yet those are the very words heard often by Michael Anastasia of Financial Architects. The addition of a paintng, done by an artist with Autism, on their lobby wall has since turned it into an attraction.

Michael isn’t the only one to benefit from this art. Since the collection’s inception less than a year ago, nearly a dozen Western New York businesses and organizations have turned to Autistic Services, seeking unique and orignal art for their venues. Some of these borrowing venues you may have even heard of: Spot Coffee, Buffalo State College, Brodo, The Rath Building. The response so far?

“We LOVE the work we have.”
“Great Job! The office looks great. Thank you.”
“AWESOME! Thanks so much.”

The origin of our Lending Art Collection can be traced back to our year-long traveling exhibitions. As our attendees grew in number, so did the number of inquiries
about the work. Not wanting to sell the work, the idea soon emerged to make the work available on loan. The collection has since enjoyed considerable success. As Michael says about the central piece in FA’s lobby, “Jack in the Bread is the focal point of our office. It is colorful and eye-catching, and provides an instant
talking point to discuss ASI.”

If you have an interest in our Lending Art Collection, let us know by calling us at 631-5777. There is no charge for this service. Our goal is to raise Autism awareness, create partnerships and share the work of these artists with our community.

 


Shirley Maclaine - Wheel of Fortune Painting

On October 9th we wrapped up our Seventh Annual Arts Work reception, raisng $32,000 for our Arts Work program. When we first created the event, we knew that we wanted it to be our biggest fundraiser of the year. However, these days it has grown to become more than that.

Arts Work is now something of a grand finale of all the art related projects that were achieved throughout the year; it is a culmination, in one night, of all of the year’s paintings and performances done by our artists. There’s a lot of preparation leading up to the event, and as you can imagine, there is also a huge catharsis that follows the day after. That single day is like a door that sits between the accomplishments of the year past, and the ambitions for the year ahead.

For this reason, we decided not to make our Winter Newsletter exclusively about Arts Work 2009. We decided instead to make it about two great leaps that were made this year because of the continued success of Arts Work. It is because of the money we raise in Arts Work that we are able to continue including the arts as part of our education and adult programs. Both programs allow us to foster budding artists from the classroom up into adulthood where they continue work at one of our two new facilities in Buffalo and Williamsville.

The other major leap is that we’ve turned all of this great art into a successful Lending Collection, to which nearly a dozen
organizations have turned for original art. We hope that you’re as excited as we are about these accomplishments. It is evidence of the efficacy of your support, which keeps the arts alive at Autistic Services.

 

Veronica Federiconi,

Veronica Federiconi,
Executive Director