Maleigha (on the far left) at her booth
Art for Autism is an ATC outreach event that provides free booth space to artists with autism to sell their work, engage with the public, and connect to other artists as peers and mentors. This year the event was held on October 8th at the Shops of La Cantera in San Antonio and featured more than 25 artists of different skill levels ranging in age from 10 to 50+ years old. Their styles of art varied, too - oil and acrylic paintings, sketches, graphic arts, clay sculptures, and more.
One of this year’s participating artists was 12-year-old Maleigha Medrano. When she and her family first arrived to set up, Maleigha looked around at the other artwork on display and started to cry because she didn’t think her paintings were good enough. Throughout the day, though, she received encouragement from other artists and people who stopped to talk and purchase her art. The owner of the gym that sponsored her booth even came to visit and offered to display her work at his facility. At the end of the day, Maleigha sold 10 paintings and 6 buttons for a total of $109. More importantly, she made new friends with common interests, got experience interacting with different kinds of people, and left with a huge boost of confidence.
We were so honored to tell the stories of the Stars of the Runway models at a fashion show and luncheon on October 22nd. The event raised essential funds to help ATC provide life-changing therapy while shining a light on the models - each with their own personal connection to autism as a person with autism, the mother of a child with autism, or a professional in the field of autism. Thank you to all of our sponsors, guests, models, and volunteers for making this such a special day!
Check out highlights from the event and learn more about the model's stories at www.atcoftexas.org/fashionshow
We are so grateful for the support of the Roundup for Autism team and donors and look forward to putting these funds to work! Learn more at www.roundupforautism.org
On September 15th, 65 men and women from the ATC Dallas program jumped on a bus headed to Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth to attend the Friday night rodeo. Attending the rodeo has been an annual tradition made possible by the donors and volunteers with the Roundup for Autism, but had been put on hold for a few years. Our residents were very excited to return to the Coliseum!
After making their way to their seats, everyone enjoyed dinner provided by the Coliseum and settled in for the big show. There was so much excitement for the horses, bull riders, and rodeo clowns! When asked what he enjoyed most, Peter, an ATC resident said, "Seeing the horses run around and watching the cowboys hold on to the bulls. I used to ride horses and that made me happy to be around them again." Another resident, Chris, said, "It was fun to get ready and feel special. Plus the food was good."
In addition to being a fun night out, experiences like this give the individuals in our programs a chance to practice skills they learn at home and at ATC in a real-world setting. Everyone did a great job following directions to get to their seats, making conversation with volunteers, and of course cheering on their favorite riders.
We are grateful to the Roundup for Autism for creating such wonderful memories for the residents of ATC year after year!
The fruits - actually herbs - of their labor!
4 years ago, Subrina moved to Dallas and was looking for a non-profit to partner with when she came across the Autism Treatment Center (ATC) and scheduled a tour to learn more.
Since then, Divas and Dons have donated lunches to the staff for their hard work and dedication, blankets and other home goods for the residents, and many special requests from the students. On top of the generous in-kind donations, they have coordinated, funded, and hosted two events, "Autism Parade", and "Tacos and Flip-Flops". Each event was a huge success and money raised from these events was donated to ATC. Subrina plans to host another event in early Spring 2023! If you would like to learn more about this upcoming fundraiser, please contact Carrie Nelson, Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful for Subrina and the members of the Divas and Dons for all of their time and generosity. Thank you, Divas and Dons!
He has had two fabulous Beatles cakes for his big 40th and 50th birthday parties. It is very common for my friends to message me when they see a Beatles item that Bobby might like, which is so thoughtful of them. Bobby would listen to the Beatles or Wings all the time if you let him, but he also loves most classic rock. He has surprised us in the past year or so by identifying the names of many of the bands he hears on the radio -- from Queen, the Doors, the Rolling Stones to REO Speedwagon -- he has amazed us because we had no idea he knew them. If you ask him who his favorite Beatle is, he will sometimes say Paul McCartney, sometimes John Lennon . . . he will name a different favorite song from day to day. He loves going to Paul McCartney concerts and any Beatles-themed bands that tour.
We enjoy encouraging Bobby's love of music and think he's got pretty good taste!
All the ATC campers had new experiences they will never forget. Carly* got into a kayak for the first time and paddled around the lake with another female camper. While Darrell* didn’t participate in many activities, he enjoyed watching the action and being part of a group. He did get out of his comfort zone, though, and was the only ATC camper to go ziplining.
For children with autism, activities in the community help build confidence and independence. Thanks to the generosity of a few individuals, four of our residents were able to enjoy summer camp the way it was intended - not as teenagers with autism, but as just teenagers.
* We changed the names of children who are wards of the state to protect their privacy
Nono was recognized nationally for his expertise in affordable housing and his passion for helping people who were economically disadvantaged become self-sufficient, productive members of the community.
In total, the Texas Housing Finance Corporation donated $100,000 to four nonprofits that provide housing to underserved and at-risk populations. The benefiting nonprofits were recommended by Nono’s wife, Mary Helen Flores, and sons, Michael and Tommy Flores.
When asked what the donation meant to his family, Michael said, “We were touched that this organization my father helped create would want to carry on his legacy with this incredible gift to the community he served.”
We're grateful to the Flores family and TX Housing Finance Corporation Board President Michael Hernandez, Board Vice President Frances Ferguson, and Director Stephan Fairfield for helping make these funds possible.
Connecting Healthcare & Art
In June, ATC San Antonio was pleased to receive a piece of art to display at the downtown ABA clinic. The art was created and donated by Christina Deltoro, a Rehab Science student at the University of the Incarnate Word. As part of a class in Cultural Issues in Healthcare, Christina and the other students spoke with parents of children with autism to identify barriers to healthcare and created art that communicated what they learned.
For Christina, this meant expressing the connection between the community, healthcare workers, parents, and insurance companies and their collective impact on individuals with autism, both positive and negative.
“As healthcare professionals,” she says, “we really need to listen to families so we know how to work together to make the system work better for them.”
Pictured above: Artist Christina Deltoro (left) and ATC staff Sierra Stegemann
Michael’s dedicated therapists worked with his mother to develop a plan specifically suited to meet his needs. The plan includes additional safety equipment, special training for the staff and parents, and teaching resources to use at home.
Today, Michael is moving around the clinic without harmful behaviors, has learned to express his needs using a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) book, and now uses 10 words vocally!
We are so proud of Michael and thankful for the additional resources that allow us to provide the best care possible. These are just a few of the MANY examples of how our donor’s gifts are helping to change lives at ATC.
ATC student Bryan works on his vocational skills helping maintenance team member, Jacob, with projects at our group homes.
In 2016, when Bryan first enrolled in ATC’s school, he had not attended his public school in California for several semesters because they couldn’t meet his behavioral needs. His grandmother, a retired college professor, was tutoring him during the day, but his father, who worked from home so he could care for Bryan, always stayed close by in case his son became aggressive.
During his time at ATC, Bryan has made remarkable progress, not just on his behaviors, but on his academic and vocational goals, too. Bryan is a bright, inquisitive student who excels in math and science. Now 19, he is focusing more on job skills he can use once he graduates. He practices office tasks like filing, addressing envelopes, and delivering packages around the ATC campus. He also keeps track of and stocks hygiene and cleaning supplies for the school. Recently, Bryan helped the maintenance staff put together outdoor furniture and change air conditioning filters at all the group homes, activities he especially enjoys.
campaign at an event at ATC where two lucky winners were drawn to win the custom kicks. Altogether the raffle and art sales from that night raised $6,500 for local autism services!
Dimas had no idea that his generosity and desire to help other families would turn out so quickly to be a blessing for his own. While visiting with ATC staff during the KRW Kicks event, Dimas and Chelsea learned that Zayn, who had not been able to receive ABA therapy for a while, was eligible for services through ATC’s state-funded therapy program. Rather than the $700 they previously paid for a month of therapy, the family would be able to continue his treatment for as little as $25 a month.
Good things happen when our community comes together to support a worthwhile cause. We are so grateful to KRW Lawyers and Dimas for their desire to help people with autism in our community. And, we look forward to helping the Martinez family as they continue their autism journey with Zayn!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the KRW Kicks for Autism awareness campaign and art contest! View the winning entries
We know it takes a whole team to be on board for the best results. Aiden's mother, Tasha, contributes to his success by attending and learning about ABA and his treatment plan twice a month at hands-on parent training meetings. These parent training experiences help Tasha and Aiden work together on skills needed in different types of environments. Raina Busoul, Program Director at the Fort Worth Clinic, said, "Aiden is a very hard worker. Observing his growth this last year has been very rewarding to his whole team!"
We're proud of Aidan and everyone who is helping him succeed!
Taking Action in the Community!
On a walk through Comanche Lookout Park in San Antonio last fall, our students and staff noticed that benches along the trails were in need of a new coat of paint. We contacted the Parks and Recreation Department to see if our students could take on painting the benches as a service project. On March 4th, ATC students Bryan and Garrett started work on the project. They got several compliments from other park guests on the great job they did and you can tell by the smiles on their faces they had a great time. Way to go Bryan and Garrett!
Carole was surprised, though, when Asa initiated a conversation with her about something that interested him at SeaWorld. While riding the train at the zoo, Asa even responded out loud when Carole asked him in sign if he was having a good time. “Fun!” he said.
One of the most significant changes Carole saw was how patient Asa was when they had to wait in line at a restaurant or theme park. On past outings, he would dart to food areas and demand something to eat at every stop. This time he asked first and waited politely, understanding that his patience would pay off. Carole noticed a difference in his physical movements, too. Asa no longer shuffled his feet but picked them up and walked properly. He even showed improvements in self-care, dressing himself each day and reminding Carole when it was time for his medication.
We're so proud of Asa and excited to see what 2022 has in store for him and his family!
We have a new hallway mural at our Dallas program!
Our art therapist worked with ATC students to create this beautiful artwork. We're so proud of their hard work and wonderful talents.
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