Hello again SCAS friend!

Below is the latest edition of our monthly newsletter.

From The President

As you may know, Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month may not arrive until April, but the staff at the South Carolina Autism Society is busy planning many opportunities for families and professionals to learn, advocate, and just have fun in the coming months.  Details are throughout this newsletter, but I wanted to point out some of the highlights.

As a member of the Partnership of Disability Organizations, we are busy planning Disability Advocacy Day at the South Carolina Statehouse on Wednesday, March 4th.  Whether you can get to Columbia or not, please take a moment to contact your State Legislators to share your thoughts and needs regarding autism.  This is a great opportunity to talk to them about the need for the expansion of Ryan’s Law (see article in this newsletter), thank them for maintaining funding for critical services and expanding ABA services through Medicaid, or simply sharing your own family story.

Our April events kick off with our annual Strides for Autism event in the Upstate on Saturday, April 11th.  Come out for a fun morning with other families affected by autism!  We will have a walk, music, and lots of fun family activities.  Create a Team Fundraiser, and you can help support the mission of the South Carolina Autism Society and expand our services statewide. 

On Friday, April 17th, we are excited to have one of the foremost presenters on autism and social skills, Jed Baker, PhD, at our Annual Conference.  Dr. Baker will talk to us about “Preparing for Life”, and how we can start preparing for transition now.  In addition, we will have several break-out sessions on a variety of timely subjects.  Register now!

We have been busy working with partner organizations to bring Wings for Autism to the Columbia Airport on Saturday, April 18th.  This is a chance for individuals with autism to “practice” getting through the airport, going through security, and boarding the plane.  We hope to partner with other airports to bring this event to different locations throughout the state.

Finally, we will extend our awareness and acceptance efforts in to May when we hold our Strides for Autism event in the Midlands on Saturday, May 2nd.  We are excited to be moving the event to Saluda Shoals Park in Irmo this year!

Of course our hardworking staff members continue to assist families with Case Management, and provide new families with information and referral.  Our Parent Mentors in our Parent School Partnership program are gearing up for a busy spring IEP season.  And we are looking to provide even more respite and community activities throughout the year. 

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.


Kim Thomas, President & CEO
South Carolina Autism Society


Upcoming SC Autism Society Events

2015 Annual Conference

2015 Annual Conference

Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person
Saluda Shoals 
5605 Bush River Road, 
Irmo, SC  29212

Don’t miss the South Carolina Autism Society’s Annual Conference, featuring Jed Baker as Keynote Speaker. 

Jed Baker, Ph.D. is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization, serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. He is on the professional advisory board of Autism Today, ASPEN, ANSWER, YAI, the Kelberman Center and several other autism organizations. In addition, he writes, lectures, and provides training internationally on the topic of social skills training and managing challenging behaviors. He is an award-winning author of five books.

His presentation is titled, “Preparing for Real Life: Harnessing Strengths, Overcoming Obstacles and Learning Relevant Skills”. He reviews some of the key predictors of successful adult outcomes among students with special needs, including the awareness of strengths and challenges, perseverance, learning skills to accomplish realistic goals, and preventing disruptive behaviors. The second part of the presentation details effective social skill training strategies for all individuals and reviews some common skill needs for young adults, including the realm of sexuality and dating.

Registration is $50, which includes lunch.

Limited Scholarships are available for parents and self-advocates.  Click here to apply.

Do you know someone who is deserving of recognition?  Click here to view our Annual Awards, and submit your nominations.

Stay tuned for updates on breakout sessions and additional sponsors.

Register for this conference



Strides 2015


Saturday, April 11, 2015
Heritage Park, Simpsonville


Saturday, May 2, 2015
Saluda Shoals Park, Irmo

Strides for Autism is the South Carolina Autism Society’s signature fundraising and awareness walk. Money raised for South Carolina Autism Society stays in South Carolina and goes towards family support, education, advocacy, and South Carolina-based research. According to the South Carolina Secretary of State, the South Carolina Autism Society devoted 90% of its total expenses to program services.


Resource fair
Family-fun activities


• Raise the awareness of autism spectrum disorders. The better understanding our society has about autism, the better the quality of life for those on the spectrum will be.

• Raise funds for the South Carolina Autism Society.


Service Coordination
Our Service Coordinators work to ensure that the individuals on their caseloads receive the best services to which they are entitled.

Parent School Partnership
Our Parent Mentors work to assist children with autism in reaching their maximum potential in the classroom through appropriate services and accommodations.

Information & Referral
We aim to help provide accurate and timely information to families and professionals about autism spectrum disorders and services available throughout the state.

We work in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education to provide training to families and professionals about various strategies and support.

We work with policy makers throughout the state to help improve the services available to individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

In addition to our Strides for Autism events, we regularly partner with other community organizations to provide respite and family activities statewide.


To Register as an Individual or Family:

Upstate -- Click here to register for Upstate Strides

Midlands -- Click here to register for Midlands Strides

To Create a Fundraising Team:

Click here to Register (Step 1) and Create a Fundraising Team (Step 2)

Click here for additional directions for Step 2.


Corporate Sponsorship opportunities are available, as are spaces at the Resource Fair. For more information, visit:  https://scautism.org/sponsor/

Additional information for Strides for Autism, along with information about autism and SCAS is available online at http://scautism.org/  or by calling the Columbia SCAS office at 1-800-438-4790.





Strides Scout Flag Ceremony

Strides Scout Flag Ceremony

Since 2010, our Upstate and Midlands Strides for Autism events have kicked off with a flag ceremony.  These ceremonies are conducted by Scouts, both male and female, who have been affected by autism.  Some were scouts with autism, while others were peers who came out in support.

Now is the time to sign up to participate in our Strides Spectrum Scouts for 2015!  Our events will take place as follows:

April 11, 2014 at Heritage Park, Simpsonville, SC

May 2, 2014 at Saluda Shoals, Irmo, SC

• We welcome all Scouts, male or female, currently active or inactive, ASD or their peers who wish to come out in support.

• Uniforms are encouraged, but not required.

• Participants will report to the event site by 8:15 am for a brief practice.

We are also seeking adult scout leaders to lead the flag ceremony on the event day for both events.


Coffee Talk Parent Support

Coffee Talk Parent Support

There will be no Coffee Talk in March so that families and staff can attend Disability Advocacy Day in Columbia.

We will resume on Wednesday, April 1.

Spectrum Valentine Ball

Spectrum Valentine Ball


Join us for our annual Spectrum Valentine Ball at the Adams Mill Program Center, 100 Adams Mill Road, Simpsonville on Saturday, February 21st from 6 - 8:30 pm.

Don’t miss out on our annual Spectrum Valentine Ball!  The 2015 Spectrum Ball is a night of dancing and fun for families living with someone on the Autism spectrum.  It's a fun, safe, and sensory-appropriate event.  Don’t like to dance?  That’s okay!  We have plenty of other activities going on!  Including our amazing Balloon Man – always a huge hit!  Just come out and “have a Ball!”  

Who's Invited

Father/daughter couples, mother/son couples, or entire families.  Everyone!  All families affected by autism or related conditions are invited.  All ages are welcome.  You do not need to be a Y member, nor a resident of Greenville.  Bring a friend!

Semi-formal (or whatever you choose!  Really!  From a tux to jeans, all is welcome!)

Activities include:

• A Rocking DJ ... and a Square dance!

• Balloon Man, with amazing designs!  And often a giant balloon sword fight!

• Snacks -- including a Chocolate fountain.  (We’ll try not to make it tip and spill this year!)

• Family photos -- professionally done

• ...and more!

$25 per family (scholarships available).  Fees paid at the door on February 21st.



Fundraising Events

Fundraiser Event: Car and Truck Show

Fundraiser Event: Car and Truck Show

Carolina Custom Truck and Accessories, along with Palmetto Stangs are having a Car and Truck Show benefiting South Carolina Autism Society at the end of April.

100% of all proceeds go directly to South Carolina Autism Society!

This family-friendly event will be showcasing 35 classes of cars and trucks.  Music will be provided at the show.  Showtime is from 8:00am to 3:00pm.  Food, Vendors, Door Prizes, 50/50 Raffles and more.

Admission is Free.


Fundraiser Event: Let's Dance for Autism

Fundraiser Event: Let's Dance for Autism

Let's dance for Autism at The Woody in the Vista! Admission will be $5, with a portion of the proceeds going to the South Carolina Autism Society. Wear blue, because they'll have a special blue-drink, just for us! Tell your friends to come on out. The party starts April 18th! Doors open at 6 pm.



Outside Events

Although we do not directly manage the following events, we want to share these with our community.

YMCA Spectrum Family Camps

MAY 8 - 10, 2015  & OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 1, 2015

Ridgetop Cabin - $310.00 for a cabin, up to 4 people    Additional person $80.00

Spectrum Family Camp takes place at YMCA Camp Greenville in the mountains just past Caesars Head.  It offers families with children on the autism spectrum a fun and safe environment, with well-trained staff that truly understand kids on the spectrum.  We'll take care of the details like sensory friendly activities, picture charts for easier transitions, and menus designed to accommodate diets (GF/CF? Covered!) upon advanced request.  Each family sleeps in a private heated cabin, with private bathroom.  All autism (or related) families are invited.  One need not be a member of the YMCA or a resident of Greenville.

What is there to do at Family Camp?

Click here to see a sample schedule. 

We provide fun activities for campers of all ages.

• Crafts

• Archery

• Riflery

• Hikes to places like Rainbow Falls

• Animal Center

• Zip Line

• Evening Programs: Campfire & Carnival

 Special Activities provided on certain weekends:

• Canoeing (May & October)

• Horseback Riding (October)

The activities listed above are all optional...it's OK just to head to the waterfront and sunbathe, visit "Pretty Place" for a little quiet inspiration or enjoy a leisurely hike around Camp. Your schedule is up to you! 

For details and additional information about Spectrum Family Camp, please contact us by email or at the phone number below:

Voice: 864.836.3291 X 107| Fax: 864.836.3140
Email: Michael Spradlin



Camp M.A.T.E.S. & Social Skills Groups In Columbia 

Dr. Randel is very excited to announce that under Brazendale Child and Family Services LLC (Dr. Randel's private practice) they will be running camp again this summer! Camp M.A.T.E.S. (Merging Activities to Enhance Social Skills, formally Camp P.A.L.S.) will begin in the middle of June 2015 and run on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am-2:00pm until August 2015. This summer, camp will consist of sports, social skills, nutrition, AND a fun academic component! They are still looking into where they will have camp, but they are looking into getting a bigger space and an outdoor area for the campers to be able to play.

There is already a lot of interest for camp, and they wanted to send this information to you in case you or someone you know would be interested. Please feel free to send this information to anyone that you think would be interested. Further, if you are interested, please send an email to CampMates803@gmail.com and let them know that you are interested so they can put you on their interest list. 

Also, they are starting social skills groups again January 12! They had an extremely successful 1st group term with 25 children and adolescents and they look forward to continuing to expand! Groups are on Monday nights from 4:15-5:15pm, 5:15-6:15pm, or 6:15-7:15pm at the Autism Academy in downtown Columbia. They are starting to recruit now and spots are going quickly! Please let them know if you or anyone you know would be interested by emailing drbrazendale@gmail.com ASAP! 


Able South Carolina, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc., and the SC Developmental Council are hosting two transition conferences in February of 2015 at Furman University. View the flyer here.

Furman University
Trone Student Center
3300 Poinsett Hwy
Greenville, SC 29613

Empowering a Future will be held on Friday, February 27th from 9AM to 5PM. This conference will help Transition Specialists, Guidance Counselors, Educators, and others support their students with disabilities as they face life after high school. Opportunities for continuing education units (CEUs) will be available.  View the tentative agenda here.

Cost: $25. Lunch will be provided.


Mapping Your Future will be held on Saturday, February 28th from 9:30AM to 3:45PM.

The goals of the Mapping Your Future transition conference are:

• To inform participants about their rights regarding transition services.

• To provide students with the tools & resources to create meaningful transition goals.

• To empower students to become self-advocates and reach their goals after high school.

• To empower parents to set higher expectations and to effectively support their children in reaching transition goals.

View the tentative agenda here.

Cost: Free. Lunch will be provided.



Wings for Autism® is Coming to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Wings for Autism® is an airport “rehearsal” designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder designed to alleviate stress that may come with flying.

The Columbia event will be held at a time to be determined on Saturday, April 18. The South Carolina Autism Society is excited to be partnering with The Arc of SC, The Arc of the Midlands, Pro-Parents of SC, Delta and Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). We are also in discussions with potential partners to bring Wings for Autism to other airports in South Carolina.

Stay tuned for more news and updates, as well as information on registration, or follow the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wingsforautismcolumbia





Dear South Carolina Autism Friends – EXCITING NEWS!  The Ryan’s Law Amendment Bill has been filed as Senate Bill 135.  (It has not been filed in the House yet.)

NOW is the time to start contacting your state senators and asking them to sign on as co-sponsors on  Senate Bill 135.  You can let your senator know that the primary sponsor is Senator Ray Cleary, and additional sponsors are Senators Paul Campbell and Danny Verdin. 

If you don’t know who your senator is, go here and enter your home address at the bottom under “Find My Legislator”:  www.scstatehouse.gov.

The following is an example of what you could say:

Hi, my name is ______ and I LIVE IN YOUR DISTRICT. I’m calling to ask you for a favor. I have a child/grandchild/godson with autism, and I would like you to co-sponsor a bill. It's the Ryan’s Law autism amendment bill, sponsored by Senator Ray Cleary, and it amends the autism insurance bill South Carolina passed in 2007 to make it comply with federal law and to make autism coverage available to the groups that were excluded in 2007. Will you co-sponsor it for me? It would mean a lot to my family.

We will continue to provide updates throughout the Legislative Session.


Become a Member



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.



Featured Item

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:

Silver Loop Bracelet

Silver Loop Bracelet

This is an adorable tiny bracelet, perfect for a little angle.



Connect with Us

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


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