Several of the adults in our Dallas program enjoy volunteering in the community, but due to the pandemic all activities were put on hold for the past year. We are all very excited to get back out there and have begun volunteering with Meals on Wheels again!
We asked a few of the adults: Why do you like volunteering with Meals on Wheels?
"I like it because I like to get out and help the older ladies." - BP
"I like to help the handicapped." - LW
"To help the older people and homeless people." - LL
When the COVID-19 vaccine became available for the general public, we heard from parents who were concerned their child's challenging behaviors would keep them from getting the vaccine.
Thanks to our partners in Dallas and San Antonio - DMS Pharmacy, Tom Thumb, The Perot Foundation - we are providing sensory-friendly vaccine clinics in both communities for youth and adults with autism and their family members. For dates and registration information on upcoming ATC vaccine clinics, visit www.atcoftexas.org/vaccine
We know how hard the children and parents in our programs have worked towards their goals and it has been a priority to make sure the progress that has been made isn't lost. We appreciate the patience and support of the clients and families who have put their trust in us.
Each of our 3 therapy clinics are now open.
Lydia has had a great school year and we have loved getting to know her!
Lydia joined our program a little over a year ago and has made wonderful progress with social behaviors and conversation. With her behaviors improved, we can now see how strong her creative side is.
Lydia has shown great interest in artistic expression and we love to see her creations! To help her utilize this interest, her teachers are giving her more opportunities to work hands-on by learning to apply vinyl decorations to mugs and tumblers. With her new skills, Lydia is creating unique items for herself and to sell in the ATC retail center. In addition to being more expressive, she is learning valuable skills to increase independence and build confidence. Lydia also loves fashion, writing in her journal, going on walks with her peers, and getting manicures and pedicures to relax. We're so proud of Lydia and look forward to seeing how she learns to express herself more and more. Everyone at ATC agrees that her amazing enthusiasm will brighten your day!
A Mobile Wonderland
Although Morgan's Wonderland, San Antonio's ultra-accessible theme park, is closed for the rest of the season due to COVID-19, they are continuing to bring joy to people with disabilities.
On August 17th and 24th, ATC students and residents enjoyed a Morgan's Wonderland parade that visited our homes and school with music and lights. The parade featured the Morgan's Wonderland bus, vintage cars, and police vehicles from the San Antonio Police Dept. They were greeted with signs, cheers and lots of excitement from the ATC spectators!
1st Class Divas Drive-Thru Parade
We have wonderful new friends in the 1st Class Divas volunteer group. ATC has been chosen as their adopted charity to receive needed funds, supplies, and fun surprises! We were happy to invite the group over when they asked to hold an event at our Dallas location. The Divas set up a drive-thru parade and spent the day handing out goodie bags full of activities and gifts, autism awareness buttons and bracelets, and even brought a special cake to enjoy. Everyone at ATC had a wonderful day and we are pleased to welcome the 1st Class Divas into the ATC family.
This is the Leek family. Monica (seated) is the eldest daughter of Len and Patty Leek and lives in one of ATC's Dallas area group homes. This is the first time in 6 months that the family has been all together.
When the world came to a halt in March, so did family visits. Due to Covid-19 many difficult restrictions and procedures were put in place by the State/County to protect our residents, their family members, and staff. This meant that families were no longer allowed to visit their loved ones in our group homes. Phone and video calls were arranged, but we all know that just isn't that same as a nice face-to-face chat.
As restrictions eased the team began working on a way to bring our families safely back for long overdue visits. We are so excited to now be able to welcome our families for outdoor visits! It has been a long road and we are grateful for the patience and support of the Leek family.
These photos also show our first patio makeover to provide a comfortable place for families to enjoy their time together. We have 17 more homes that will be getting a patio upgrade thanks to donations made during North Texas Giving Day.
Celebrations of birthdays and other milestones are very different for everyone right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be special. ATC team members work together to make sure every resident’s birthday is an occasion to remember. Direct care staff decorate the home and organize a party with the birthday boy or girl’s favorite meal and dessert to share with housemates. A special thanks to Princess, one of our Case Managers, who took time to shop for presents and deliver them wrapped in time for the big day. For ATC, caring for our residents means more than keeping them healthy and safe, it means creating and sharing moments to celebrate with them.
We still need your help. It is often difficult to purchase for all of our homes due to quantity restrictions. Click here to see how you can help keep the children and adults in our homes happy and healthy.
Parking lot pep rally!
We celebrated local teenager AJ Ortiz with a parking lot pep rally! During the time of COVID-19, AJ decided to fundraise for and donate more than 140 hours of service, in just 3 weeks, to create almost 200 handmade Autism Awareness key chains. He chose ATC as one of its benefactors, and presented a check of $576, having donated 30% of the proceeds to the ATC’s residential program for children and adults with autism. Click here to buy one of AJ’s puzzle keychains.
Plano Magazine is partnering with My Possibilities to feature #ChangeMakers in the disabilities community. Our very own Dr. Carolyn Garver is featured this month! She truly is a change-maker at ATC and everywhere she goes.
“I’ve never had two days alike here. I like seeing people achieve things; I like to see people succeed. Our individuals need our help, but they can achieve things we wouldn’t have thought possible,” Dr. Garver shared. “With the right support and education, you don’t know what they could achieve. Don’t count anyone out.”
Click here to read the full article
What a great day!
An amazing group of ATC staff and Roundup for Autism volunteers visited our community group homes (from a safe distance and with masks on). Our friends at Roundup provided a BBQ lunch and invited local musician Joshua Ingram to provide some entertainment. It was a special day for everyone!
A big THANK YOU to all who helped make this happen.
We truly could not carry on without our amazing team!
Getting through this together! We have had so many wonderful supporters stop by with donations of food, supplies, and money they have raised to support our needs at this time. Here are just a few! Our friends with the Order of the Alhambra Caravan #269 delivered a check to ATC for $1,000 (left). A board member donated 4,000 rolls of toilet paper (middle)! Several members of the community have stopped by with donations of needed food and household supplies (right). We are so grateful for the continued support from our community! Click here if you would like to see how you can help.
What difference did this make? Guilia and Loren made so much progress on their communication and social behaviors, both children were able to make a successful transition to public school this year, a milestone their mother, Jennifer, wasn’t sure she would ever see. “The therapists who work with Guilia and Loren are angels from heaven,” she says. “ATC has helped my family in more ways than I can possibly put into words.”
Early diagnosis and treatment can have a life-changing impact on children with autism. Today, however, many children miss the opportunity for early intervention because of long waiting lists for services or a lack of insurance coverage for behavior therapy. This is where more community support can make the most difference.
Words really can’t describe the impact your contributions to ATC have on the lives of children like Guilia and Loren. But that’s OK. We think the smiles on their faces say it all.
The discovery of Michael’s artistic talent came last year when ATC hired art instructor Linda Evans to teach classes on Wednesday afternoons. She began with three adults one-on-one, focusing on their individual abilities and interests. When she first started painting with Michael, he was very shy and wouldn’t look her in the eye. If she asked him a question, he would only say “yes”, if he said anything at all.
Linda’s primary goal was for Michael to have fun but she also wanted him to learn something from each session. In the year they have been working together, Linda has seen amazing changes in him.
“I have taught him how to sing the entire song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and he will now say my name and give me names for his paintings,” Linda says. “If I point or ask him what something is, he will tell me it is a vase or tree. For Michael to speak to me, telling me what color the leaves are and what we just painted is significant.”
Michael’s art lessons have resulted in dozens of beautiful paintings that have been gifted to family members and sold at community art events. For Linda, the outcomes are much more personal. “Michael is still very quiet but I take him out of his quiet zone, have him dance and sing with me, and remind him that he can trust me before we paint. I am very thankful for Michael and feel blessed to have shared this past year with such a wonderful and talented man."
A Ton of Kindness (literally!)
Mary Helen Flores and family donated 2,000 pounds of fresh produce (of which ATC received 500 lbs!) to area group homes and nonprofits who support South Texas families and individuals with developmental disabilities. Her son's, Chef Michael Flores and Tommy Flores helped coordinate the pick at River City Produce of fruits and vegetables for our 7 group homes.
Thank you, Mary Helen, for your generous gift and all this healthy food our residents will be enjoying this week!
We are excited to announce that the San Antonio Area Foundation has awarded ATC a $50,000 grant to train more Board Certified Behavior Analysts on how to provide telehealth ABA services.
Having more trained professionals providing therapy online will increase the number of families who are able to receive help. We can't wait to get started!
Click here to learn more about the COVID-19 Response Fund and the caring businesses, donors, and foundations who have made this gift possible.
ATC received a $50,000 grant from The Dallas Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund for supplies, staffing, and technology needed during this crisis. We are so thankful for this amazing support!
Rock N Roll Fundraiser
We had a great time at the Elvis Birthday Bash on January 12th! A BIG thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, guests, and donors who made it such a special evening.
We raised $7,000!
Do you hear what I hear?
The 2019 Berkner High School "Encore" Choir stopped by our Dallas campus to sing Christmas carols with our students and adults. We're grateful for this talented group of students. What a wonderful surprise!
In May 2019 the Imagine Beyond Foundation hosted the 3rd Annual Tread Blue 5k Walkathon & Fun Run benefitting ATC. In a sea of blue shirts, volunteers, sponsors, and participants gathered at the Warren Sports Complex in Frisco to raise funds and awareness of autism.
The runners and walkers all had a great time and raised $15,700! A big thank you to the Imagine Beyond Foundation for their amazing support of ATC!
Congrats to our 2019 Grads!
ATC congratulates our 2019 graduates, William and Jalen, on their dedication and hard-earned success! Congratulations also to the teachers, staff, and the entire support team for their tireless work to Change Lives and Build Futures everyday.
Grand Opening in San Antonio
In May 2019, ATC cut the ribbon on our brand new 20,000 sqft. Learning & Opportunity Center!
Check out our video from the celebration on our facebook page. We were honored to have opening remarks from U.S. Representative Will Hurd, Councilman Clayton Perry, District 10, and John Courage for District 9 .