In light of April being National Autism Awareness Month, we spoke with the Autism Society of Nebraska for an inside look at one of the local organizations making a difference in the autism community.
What is The Autism Society of Nebraska and what is its mission?
The Autism Society of Nebraska is our state's oldest and largest grassroots autism organization. Since 1975 we have been advocating for and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Nebraskans affected by autism. We help all equally, without regard to things that typically divide Americans, because autism affects all equally.
How does your organization raise support and awareness?
We raise support and awareness through autism walks and other autism events, through the actions of our Support Networks throughout the state, and through state and national legislative advocacy. Additionally, 100% of funds raised here in Nebraska stay here helping your fellow Nebraskans.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
One of the most rewarding parts of our work is ending the isolation felt by families who just received the autism diagnosis or are feeling the additional pressures autism brings to adolescence and adulthood. These families and individuals often feel alone because many people do not yet understand or even accept autism. They may feel alienated from friends and family, from schools or their employers. Many parents and caregivers report their child never being invited to a birthday party. We get to work to combat that by introducing them to Society members across Nebraska at our events and support networks, and indeed, the larger national and even international family they did not know they had. Some of us are ourselves parents of wonderful young men and women on the autism spectrum—we get it, and we're here to help.
How have individuals The Autism Society supports in Nebraska been impacted by the ABLE Act?
It has been a blessing to watch our members begin to save for their futures in ways unavailable before the ABLE Act. Our members, including adults on the spectrum, want to do all they can to improve their future selves, and the ABLE Act provides a very valuable, very positive way to do that.
For more information on the Autism Society of Nebraska, please visit http://autismnebraska.org/
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