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South Carolina Autism Society 

News and Happenings

December 2017

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From The President

Hello SCAS friend!

Happy Holidays to all our SCAS families and friends!  I am so grateful to all of you for letting us serve you this past year!  I also appreciate everyone's ongoing support, whether it was through your time or treasure.

We are anticipating a lot of changes in 2019 that may affect the autism community.  Here in South Carolina, both the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are currently operating under Interim Directors, and should appoint permanent Directors in the new year.  On a national level, we will be watching how the proposed tax and health insurance changes will affect individuals with autism and other disabilities.

Your support enables us to continue focusing on these and other issues, as well as providing new and exciting services to our consumers.  Please consider us in your end-of-year donation plans.  All donations to the South Carolina Autism Society are tax deductible.  Click here to donate online now.

I hope that you and your families have a blessed holiday season.  Please contact us if you have questions, need assistance, or would like to get further involved.  Our main number is 803-750-6988, or visit our website at scautism.org.

Sincerely,

Kim Thomas, President & CEO
South Carolina Autism Society

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Upcoming Events

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The Missing Pieces 

Tuesday, January 2
7 - 8:30 pm
SCAS West Columbia Office

This is a group for adults with Autism. Individuals ages 18 and up with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers.  Our mission is to provide peer support through monthly meetings to people on the Autism spectrum and to better educate ourselves and the community-at-large by sharing our personal experiences.

Click below for more information. 

READ MORE >>

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Coffee Talk Parent Support (January 2018)

Coffee Talk Parent Support

Wednesday, January 3
9 - 11 am
Greenville, SC

Join us for our monthly coffee talk on the first Wednesday of every month at SCAS upstate office, 318 Prado Way in Greenville, off Woodruff Road. Families can visit, talk, share resources, and have coffee and goodies. Children are always welcomed, but childcare is not provided.

Important Provider Notice 

Please note that this is a parent and caregiver support format.  Businesses, organizations, and providers are welcome to send or drop materials for us to distribute.  Thank you for respecting the needs of our families!

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YMCA Spectrum Chili Cookoff

YMCA Spectrum Chili Cookoff

Sunday, January 21
5 - 7 pm
Simpsonville, SC

Join us for our 2nd Annual Spectrum Chili & Cake Cookoff!  Bring your favorite chili and/or cake for official judging... and eating!

Please click here to sign up to bring a chili and/or cake.  You are welcome to bring as many entries as you choose.  The more the merrier!

We will also have swimming from 5 - 6 pm.

Cost is $5 per family to cover lifeguards and supplies.  Scholarships are available by contacting Greg McKee at gmckee@ymcagreenville.org or 864-704-0378.

Please no peanuts or peanut butter!

READ MORE >>

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Online Training

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Puberty, Sexuality & Autism

Puberty, Sexuality & Autism

In 2017, through a grant from the Hussman Foundation, the South Carolina Autism Society presented a series of workshops on Puberty & Sexuality.

To ensure that all interested individuals, families, and professionals have access to this important information, the workshop slides are available online.

You must certify that you are 18 years of age or older to access the slides.

Click here to complete a brief information form and receive access to the Puberty & Sexuality Workshop slides.

READ MORE >>

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SCAS Updates

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Families Helping Families

Four lucky children will get bicycles for Christmas!  That’s thanks to the Families Helping Families program organized by the Palmetto Project and SCAS Midlands office.  On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 the office looked a bit like Santa’s Workshop as the crew organized the hundreds of gifts, including those bikes, that were donated by families who signed up to help.  Working together insured that more than 22 families in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, and Newberry Counties have a nice Christmas under the tree this holiday season.  This is the 10th year SCAS has participated in this program and it was made a success by all who donated and worked to organize the giving. Thank you for your generosity!!!

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Upstate Holiday Party

Thank you to everyone who came out to our annual Upstate Holiday Party!  This was the 10th year we've held this party, where almost 300 people, including 150 "shoppers", were able to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends in our autism-friendly environment.  Attendees enjoyed holiday crafts, movies, and snacks, and visits with Santa.  "Shoppers" were able to decorate gift bags and "shop" for gifts for their parents or caregivers in our Holiday Shop.  (For free, of course!)  

Many thanks to the Barbara Stone Foundation for their financial support of the party, and Grace Church Pelham for providing the space, coffee, and Chick-Fil-A nuggets!  We also are very thankful for all the student volunteers from Fisher Middle School, JL Mann High School, Greenville Technical Charter High School, Greer Middle College, and Brashier Middle College!

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New Staff

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Cindy Kilgore

New Case Manager, Cindy Kilgore. Is married to her best friend, Danny Kilgore. They have 2 beautiful grandsons (3 and 6 months), both of whom, she says, “Have me wrapped around their little fingers.” 

Cindy has been in the human services arena for 18 years, most of which was done in Colorado. Cindy and her husband moved to South Carolina in October of 2016 for his job. She says they both really like the area, but are a bit surprised by how cold it gets. Cindy tells us, “I chose to work with South Carolina Autism Society because of the loving the ASD population, and getting a very positive vibe from Kim Thomas and the office environment during my interview.”  Welcome Cindy!

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Cornetta Pickett

In addition to being one of our new Case Managers, you might see Cornetta modeling in a runway show. She was born and raised in Columbia, SC. She graduated from Benedict College in 2011 with a B.S. in Child and Family Development. In 2015, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Masters in Social Work.

She enjoys modeling, doing runway shows, writing, reading, and travel. She does not have children, but she does have a fur-baby named Doug. Cornetta tells us, “I chose to work with SCAS because I absolutely love working with those on the Autism Spectrum and I love helping people receive the services they need to prosper.”

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Colleen Gordon  

New Case Manager, Colleen Gordon is from Fort Mill, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Prior to working in Case Management at the SC Autism Society, she was an Early Intervention Specialist working with children, birth through age six, who had special needs and developmental delays. Colleen says, “I’ve always had an appreciation for individuals and families that have obstacles they're working to overcome, and I genuinely love helping others.”

Colleen hopes to continue her education and is in the process of applying to Graduate School for Communication Disorders in hopes that one day she will become a Speech Therapist and continue working with this population.

On the weekends, you are likely to find Colleen hiking in the mountains, especially in the fall when the trees have changed colors, running 5Ks, watching Carolina basketball and football, sewing, painting, and trying new recipes.

She tells us, “I'm excited to be a part of the SCAS family and look forward to the future of this great organization! "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain!"

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Mary Sturgill

SCAS wants to also welcome, Mary Sturgill. Mary is our new Director of Public Relations and Fundraising.  She is a former news anchor with a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mary has lived all over the country telling people’s stories in Arizona, Idaho and Texas before moving back to the East coast, to Columbia.  She has hosted a talk show and told important stories that have affected change.  Among her many awards, Mary has also won two national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. 

Mary has written two books and is working on her third one right now.  Mary says, at the center of everything she does is her desire to help put positive energy out in the world and to inspire others to get out of their own way to reach their dreams. She does this through a motivational speech she gives, and her books.

Mary’s hobbies include writing, yoga, and upcycling where she takes old discarded furniture or household items and turns them into something useful and beautiful. Volunteering in pet rescue for many years, Mary has an adopted dog, Abbie, and two cats, MJ and Maddie. Mary also has 10 nieces and nephews and five great nieces and nephews with one on the way!

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Monique Gadsden

We just want to welcome Monique and her turtles to the SCAS family. She was hired as a Case Manager in November.  Don’t be surprised if you see a turtle in Monique Gadsden’s office in the Midlands, because she loves turtles! 

Monique was born and raised in Georgetown, SC. She graduated from Francis Marion University with a BS in Psychology. Monique has more than seven years of experience in Case Management. After relocating to Columbia with her husband and three daughters, she decided to work with the special needs population as a QIDP. But, after being away from CM for about two years, she missed being a Case Manager and applied for the position with SCAS. 

When she is not helping her clients, she enjoys reading, and DIY projects and spending time with her family.  Please join us in sending a warm welcome to Monique!

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Outreach & Exhibitor Requests

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Outreach & Speaker Requests

Outreach & Speaker Requests

The South Carolina Autism Society is available to provide staff members and/or information for your event.  Whether you are looking for a Keynote Speaker for a Conference, a Speaker for a class or meeting, or an exhibitor table, we would love to talk to you! Please click here to complete our Outreach/Speaker Request Form.  We will review your request and …

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Become a Member!

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We are committed to continuing to work hard to fulfill our mission, that every individual with autism in South Carolina reach their maximum potential.

Follow the link below for details about the perks of the various membership levels. 

BECOME A MEMBER  >>

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Donations

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We could not fulfill our mission without the support of our generous Donors.  We ask that you please consider supporting the South Carolina Autism Society.  Your support will help us continue to reach out to families and to expand our services in South Carolina.

Thank you in advance for your support. Please remember, almost 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to programs.  The South Carolina Autism Society is a 503(c) organization, and your donation is tax deductible.

You can donate by mailing a check to:

SC Autism Society
806 12th Street
West Columbia, SC  29169

or online at http://scautism.org/donate/

Thank you for your continued support over the past 40+ years.

VIEW AND DONATE EASILY ONLINE >>

Wrap-up your holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7350663 and Amazon donates to South Carolina Autism Society.

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Featured Item

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Each month we'll feature items from our online store which could easily make the perfect gift for the ones you care about.  Here's what we have for you:

Black Leather Bling Puzzle Piece Bracelet

Black Leather Bling Puzzle Piece Bracelet

Many great items like this are available online, or at our office in West Columbia.  For last-minute stocking stuffers, call our office at 803-750-6988 and we will try to expedite your order!

READ MORE >>

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Connect with Us

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Newsletter Feedback:  Click here to let us know what you think of this newsletter!

For more immediate information, consider liking our Facebook Page, following our Twitter account or joining our Facebook Group. You can also join in our community interaction by joining one of our many online forums.

You can also subscribe to the following Yahoo Groups:  

SCAS Announcements Forum: This group is for the distribution of events and announcements by the South Carolina Autism Society.  To subscribe, send a blank email to scasannouncements-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

SC Autism Forum:  A discussion group for South Carolina parents and families whose lives are affected by autism. Share your joys, stories, challenges, and solutions.  To subscribe, send a blank email to scautismforum-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Autism South Carolina:  An online support group is for teachers, professionals, service providers and family members.  To subscribe, send a blank email to autismsouthcarolina-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Always online for you : http://www.scautism.org