Autism Society District of Columbia
We would first like to introduce ourselves to you. We are the DC Chapter of the Autism Society (DCASA). DCASA was re-organized in 1975 by a group of parents committed to advocacy and support of persons with autism and other developmental disabilities. For more than thirty years, we have worked hard to ensure that persons with autism and their families are provided with a strong support system. We have insisted that persons with autism and other developmental disabilities be respected and have the same opportunity for a high quality of life through the life span.
Years of living with autism and advocating for our children have made us relatively proficient in the following areas:
One of DCASA’s goals was to establish a supported residential facility for our adult children. On February 19, 2010, three of our adult children moved into their own home. Due to the ever increasing number of children being diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum, we are inviting families with young children and adolescents to join us to help solve the puzzle of autism.
Camper Ship Program for Children and Adults with Autism
Autism is a neurological condition resulting in severe communication disorders that affect an individual’s ability to understand and use language properly. The essential features include disturbance of: 1) developmental rates and / or sequences; 2) responses to sensory stimuli; 3) speech, language, and cognitive capacities; and 4) capacities to relate to people, events, and objects. It is a severely incapacitating lifelong developmental disability that is typically diagnosed during the first three years of life. Autism occurs in approximately 1 out of every 100 children, and is four times more common in males than in females. It affects individuals from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, with no known factors in the child’s psychological environment found to cause this disorder.
In the late 1970s, approximately 10 parents with children who had been diagnosed with autism sought the support of one another as well as medical and educational professionals. In doing so, they formed the D.C. Chapter of the Autism Society of America (DCASA). Family members met regularly to discuss their concerns, successes, and advances in the field of autism. Professionals generously volunteered their time to speak to the group and answer their questions. Realizing the importance of offering their children opportunities to participate in the same activities as other non-disabled children and knowing that few programs for this population existed, DCASA formed the District of Columbia Autistic Educational Program, Inc. (DCAEP). DCAEP was established in 1985 to meet the needs of children with autism as well as their parents. The mission of DCAEP is to provide quality care and meaningful programs for children and adults with autism. As the auxiliary body of DCASA, its main function is to provide camper ships for children and adults with autism whose families would not have this opportunity and at the same time provide respite for families.
2. Specific Aims
There are two basic aims of this project: 1.) to provide children and adults with autism with an opportunity to attend camp for one week and 2.) to provide parents with respite from serving as the primary care giver. By attending camp, these children and adults will benefit in a variety of ways:
DCASA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with autism through advocacy, public awareness, education, and activities that promote community integration.
Members of the Board
Ron Hampton, President
Rhoda M. Smith, Vice President
Denise Stockton, Secretary
Franklin Davis, Treasurer
Sondra K. Cunningham, Immediate Past President