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Autism Society Charity Profile
Autism Society, Louisiana State Chapter, Inc. is a coalition of local chapters throughout our state providing a network of families who offer support and experience.
Our Mission: To provide information and referrals, advocacy and support for individuals with ASD and their families: to help families identify qualified professionals in their communities; to assist families in securing benefits and services provided by law and to promote lifelong opportunities for persons with autism spectrum disorder in order to be fully included members of their communities.
Our Vision: All individuals affected by ASD will enjoy better quality lifestyles. The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists 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.
Founded in 1965 by Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Ruth Sullivan and many other parents of children with autism, the Autism Society is the leading source of trusted and reliable information about autism. Through its strong chapter network, the Autism Society has spearheaded numerous pieces of state and local legislation, including the 2006 Combating Autism Act, the first federal autism-specific law. The Autism Society's website is one of the most visited websites on autism in the world and its quarterly journal, Autism Advocate, has a broad national readership. The Autism Society also hosts the most comprehensive national conference on autism, attended by 2000 people each year. Our information and referral team, our program staff, and our strong chapter presence serve thousands of families each year who are searching for help in their journey with autism.
The Autism Society's national office is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. We are proud to be one of the few organizations to have members with autism serving as active board directors. The Autism Society's Panel of Professional Advisors sets the standards for our Options Policy that governs our practices, and we are proud to count the top professional experts in autism on our PPA. The Autism Society's Advisory Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism is a first-of-its-kind advisory panel comprised solely of individuals with autism, who help Autism Society staff create programs and services that will advocate for the rights of all people with autism to live fulfilling, interdependent lives.
Each year, people with autism, families and professionals volunteer thousands of hours to help the Autism Society achieve its mission of serving all those affected by autism. To each and every one of you, thank you. Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
In December 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to the Autism Society or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of autism spectrum disorder. Nonetheless, the spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.
Currently, the Autism Society estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).
Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives
Autism is treatable. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:
Lack of or delay in spoken language
Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
Little or no eye contact
Lack of interest in peer relationships
Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Autism Society Volunteer Information
There are many ways to get involved in the autism community. The Autism Society encourages its members and supporters to keep current on and active in ongoing advocacy issues regarding autism, stay abreast of the latest in autism-related news and issues through our online newsletter, ASA-Net, and make an effort to attend autism events and conferences in your area. The benefits of being involved in the autism community are many—not the least of which is educating yourself about the most appropriate treatments and resources available to help your loved one on the spectrum.
Reach Out to Your Local Chapter
The Autism Society’s chapters provide a number of ways in which individuals and families can obtain support and share their experiences with others in their communities. Our chapters are an obvious place to turn for encouragement, accurate information and education. Find a chapter near you.
Sign Up for Autism Society's Free E-Newsletter
ASA-Net is the Autism Society’s free bimonthly e-newsletter, with the latest updates on news, advocacy, research, education, conferences and resources. To receive ASA-Net, register here.
Sign Up for Autism Society Action Alerts
The Autism Society’s history and mission are grounded in its grassroots efforts to empower individuals and families to educate and advocate for themselves and their loved ones. In addition, the Autism Society is active in the public policy arena and encourages our members to take action on important issues through Action Alerts on our website and in our online newsletter.
The Autism Society’s Action Alerts will inform you of important national legislation, giving you a chance to make your voice heard by your congressperson. Click here to sign up.
Attend an Event
The Autism Society sponsors the largest gathering of people with autism, families and professionals at its annual National Conference & Exposition on Autism Spectrum Disorders. With over 200 sessions and 150 exhibitors, this event usually draws close to 2,000 people. For information about this year’s conference, visit our conference page.
The Autism Society has a network of 150 chapters in almost every state, many of which sponsor their own group meetings, programs and events. Visit the events calendar to find an event or meeting near you, or list your own.
Take a Free Course
Our website offers online courses for users to increase their knowledge of autism in general, as well as courses on specific topics related to autism. To take a course, click on the appropriate link below. They take approximately 30 minutes to complete and participants can download a certificate of completion when finished.
Autism and the Environment 101