March 2015

Autism News and Happenings


Hello again SCAS friend!

Below is the latest edition of our monthly newsletter.

From The President

This monthwe are excited to announce that SCAS will be presenting a series of autism trainings to first responders in May.  This opportunity is being provided free of charge for all emergency response professionals including law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel, and school resource officers.  Trainings will take place in Mt. Pleasant, Greenville, and Columbia.   

While it is important for first responders to learn more about autism and how to best handle a person with autism in an emergency situation, it is also important for families to prepare their loved one with autism for such situations.  We have heard some great suggestions from our families that may be worth considering.  Of course every one responds differently, but the following are some ways you can introduce your loved ones to first responders. 

Visit first responders during non-emergency situations.  Most fire stations will set up a time that you can come visit, see the equipment, and meet the firefighters.  The firefighters are usually willing to put on their full gear, including breathing apparatus.  This is a great way to prepare people for the sights and sounds that may be arriving to assist them in the event of a fire or other emergency.  While you're out in the community, it's always a good idea to introduce your loved one to police officers, firefighters, and EMTs who are not actively involved in an emergency.  The more exposure one has to first responders in non-threatening situations, the greater the chance of a positive outcome in an emergency.

Register with your local 911 system.  Many local jurisdictions have a means of making a notation in the 911 system that someone with a disability lives at a specific residence.   This information will help prepare the police, firefighters, and EMTs when responding to an emergency at your house.  Contact your local law enforcement agency to see if this is available in your area.

Identify your loved one as having autism.  Often, teens and adults enjoy the freedom of being alone out in the community.  Some individuals like to take walks through their neighborhood, while others like to visit shopping venues or entertainment complexes.  The same is true for our loved ones with autism.  In the event that an individual is approached by first responders, please be sure to provide a way for them to identify themselves as having a disability. Identification could be as simple as a card they could present with contact information and stating that they have autism.  One family we know, made a vest for their adult son that clearly states his name, contact information, and that he has autism.  These are simple ways to communicate a disability to first responders, and could help someone find their way back home.

By working together, we can do so much to improve the interactions between individuals with autism and first responders.  Do you have any tips that have worked for you?  We would love to hear them!

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.

Breakout Sessions to Include:

• Autism, Insurance, & Medicaid

• How to Get a Job

• How to Make and Utilize Visual Supports to Encourage Independence and Choice-Making during Daily Routines and Activities at Home, School, and in the Community

• Self-Advocate Panel

• Talking about AAC and Behavior

• The Autism Spectrum Disorders Friendly Health Care Initiative

• The Sensory Integration Toolbox: 15 Life-changing Tips That Bring Out the Best in People With Autism

• VR and Transition Services:  Helping Students Prepare for Work

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.


Autism Awareness for First Responders

Autism Awareness for First Responders

The SC Autism Society is honored to announce that Autism Society Task Force members, Sergeant Jimmy Donohoe and Captain William Cannata, Jr, are coming to South Carolina in May to present training sessions in three locations around the state: Greenville, Charleston and Columbia.  They are providing ‘Autism Awareness for First Responders’ in collaboration with the SC Fire Academy, Mt. Pleasant PD, Greenville PD, and CICP Carolinas Institute.

This opportunity is being provided free of charge for all emergency response professionals including law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and school resource officers. Our instructors are first responders with extensive experience in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Training is available in three different locations on three different days.

5/19/15 - Alhambra Hall, Mt. Pleasant, SC at 9:00 am

5/20/15 - Greenville Technical College, Greenville, SC at 9:00 am

5/21/15 - SC Fire Academy, Columbia, SC at 9:00 am

Capt. Cannata and Sgt. Donohoe have collaborated with the Autism Society in its Safe and Sound initiative since 2005. Sgt. Jimmy Donohoe is the creator of the ‘Take Me Home’ program, a database where participants who are unable to properly identify themselves register with a photo, physical description, and contact information so first responders can interact with increased knowledge when contacting a person with autism. Capt. William Cannata is retired from the fire service after serving more than 30 years, and is now the Program Director of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition, which was formed in 2003.

Read about how the SC Autism Society is working with First Responders statewide via Post & Courier.


Coffee Talk Parent Support

Coffee Talk Parent Support

Monthly coffee talk on the first Wednesday of every month at SCAS upstate office. Families can visit, talk, share resources, and have coffee with homemade 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!


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

Spectrum Spring Fling

Spectrum Spring Fling

Sign Up Now

Join us for our annual Spring Fling on Sunday, April 12th from 2 – 4:30 pm at Hollingsworth Outdoor Center, 259 Adams Mill Road, Simpsonville.

Tentative activities include:   Brick, making, candle making, archery, tours of Oakland plantation, blessing dolls, and more.  $10 per family.

All are welcome – you do not need to be a member of the YMCA or a resident of Greenville County.

Scholarships are available.

For more information

Contact Greg McKee at 864-963-3608 x 24 or gmckee@ymcagreenville.org

Please sign up to bring a drink or snack to share.

Sign Up Now



Fundraising Events

Bojangle's Bo Berry Biscuits Fundraiser

Bojangle's Bo Berry Biscuits Fundraiser

The new Bojangle's in Lexington on Sunset Blvd (Hwy 378) will be donating 50 cents from every two-pack of Bo Berry Biscuits sold between March 30th and April 5th.  Lets show Bojangle's how appreciative we are by swinging in and grabbing a two-pack or two... or three.

Additionally, April 2nd is "Light it Up Blue" day.  On this morning at 7:00 am and 11:00 am Lexington County Officers will be icing the Bo Berry Biscuits.  Also, the lights in the store are being swapped out for blue lights!  This location's manager is responsible for making this happen.  Be sure to give a big SCAS 'Thank You' to Laurrie while you're there.


3rd Annual Deuce's Wild Golf Tournament for Autism

3rd Annual Deuce's Wild Golf Tournament for Autism

Indian River is once again hosting their annual tournament in which all proceeds go directly to SCAS!

This will be a 4 Member Captain's Choice (Best Ball).

Registration will be at 8:00am.  Tournament begins at 9:00 am

Each player pays $45.  This fee includes:

Green Fee - Prizes - Lunch and Drinks (cocktails included) - Golf Cart

For more information, contact Buddy at (803) 240-7097


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.


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.



Outside Events

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

The Nickelodeon Showing "Stand Clear of the Closing Door" in honor of National Autism Awareness Day.

The story of an autistic youth named Ricky who, after a particularly difficult day at school, escapes into the subways. It’s here that he starts his real journey, on a days-long voyage of discovery while, above ground, his mom frantically searches for him.

Filmmaker Sam Fleischner will join us for a post-film discussion via Skype. 

Nick Members: $7
Non-Members: $10

For tickets, more information and to view the trailer please visit The Nick's event page.

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! 

Art & Autism Program at the Columbia Museum of Art 

We are pleased to announce the inaugural “Art & Autism” program offered by the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) in collaboration with the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The program is part of a research study conducted by a SLIS researcher to examine how a tailored museum art program influences the learning and social behavior of children on the autism spectrum.

We are looking for families with children between 8-14 years old, officially diagnosed with autism, who love art and can fully enjoy the museum experience. The selected families will be invited to participate in a FREE six-week interactive museum program from April 13 to May 20, 2015. Each of the six weekly visits will focus on a new art theme, such as warm & cool colors, shapes, landscape, still life, etc. Each visit will consist of a guided gallery tour, a group activity, and hands-on art making activity at the museum art studio. The sessions will provide a great learning, cultural, and social experience for autistic children. CMA offers a fun and safe environment with knowledgeable staff experienced in working with children on the spectrum. 

Since this is a research study, the selected families are expected to attend all six sessions during the time period of April 13 – May 20. Those families who complete the entire program will receive a gift card!

Recruitment is under way and spots are filling up quickly! If you are interested, please send an email directly to Liya Deng, the principal investigator of this research, at: dengl@email.sc.edu or call Liya at (478) 538-3265.


Monthly Workshops Yearly Calendar

Thursday, April 23rd - How do I read my child’s IEP? Important factors that all parents should know.

IEP meetings can be overwhelming to say the least.  In this workshop, we will go over IEP’s and show you exactly what you need to know when you attend these meetings.  Crucial elements of the IEP will be discussed to ensure that your child is getting the services that they need.

Thursday, May 28th - Adolescents and Sexuality; Resources that can help

All individuals experience sexual urges and some students need help with learning how to deal with these feeling when they start.  In this workshop, we will go over how to deal with your sexuality for males and females, personal hygiene, and birth control.  We will also demonstrate various texts and websites that can help your adolescent child better deal with their sexuality.

Thursday, July 30th - Sensory Integration – How Can I Help My Child?

The majority of students with autism have Sensory Processing Disorder. Students can be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to certain sights, sounds, smells and especially noises. This disorder can interfere with everything in the child’s life. We will discuss what this disorder is and how we can help to desensitize children who experience problems in this area and how exercise and movements is vital to calm and relaxed to they can attend to various tasks. We will demonstrate items that can help students in these areas and discuss books that can help educators’ and parents to learn more about SPD.

Thursday, August, 27th - Creating Social Stories

Since students with ASD are extremely visual, social stores can help alleviate difficult behaviors, anxiety, stress and the unknown. In this workshop, we will discuss how to create a social story and we will also go over free and low-cost resources where you can find social stories that are pre-made. Bring your own computer or iPad if available.

Thursday, September 24th - Written Productivity - How you can help your child.

Many children on the autism spectrum have problems with writing; in this workshop we will go over various resources than can help a child with writing in school and in the home. We will talk about various word prediction programs as well as speech recognition programs that are free or low cost.

Wednesday, November 18th - Helping your Student/Child with the Transition Process

Transition services can be very confusing so in this workshop, we will explain how to navigate through the transition process and how to make a smooth transition for your child. We will discuss transition from Baby Net to Early intervention, transition from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school and high school to work, tech school, or a post secondary institution. We will also discuss Vocational Rehabilitation and what they can offer your child.

Wednesday, December 3rd - Behavioral Supports for the home and school environment

In this workshop, we will demonstrate and discuss various behavioral intervention supports that can be used both in the school and home environment. We will also show you how to create behavioral intervention supports with what you have available.

Thursday, January 21st - Helping you child/student with socialization skills

Socialization can sometimes be a problem for individuals with ASD. In this workshop we will talk about socialization programs that you can use at home with your child. We will go over various programs, texts and website that can be helpful in the area of socialization.




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:

3D Awareness Ribbon Pin

3D Awareness Ribbon Pin

This is a nice take on the traditional 2D 'flat' ribbon.  This 3D piece bows out from the middle creating a textured appearance.



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