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New Mexico Autism Society

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  • Proposed training hopes to train first responders on interactions with those with autism.Thank you KRQE for featuring the story on this resolution.   CLICK HERE FOR STORY [read more…]
  • Partnership with Autism Society Created Comfortable and Engaging Space for Special Needs Fair-goersNew Mexico State Fair Receives Prestigious Merrill Award for New “Sensory Station” Partnership with Autism Society Created Comfortable and Engaging Space for Special Needs Fair-goers Last Friday evening in Anaheim, California, the Western Fairs Association announced that the New Mexico State Fair (NMSF) was this year’s winner of the prestigious Merrill Award. NMSF won the award for our new program which was launched as part of the 2017 fair to enhance the fair experience for all our visitors, including those with special needs or who may require accommodations. The Merrill Award is given to those fairs that demonstrate “innovation, vision and excellence.” The new “New Mexico State Fair Sensory Station” provided a safe space for sensory sensitive and special needs fair guests to de-escalate, and provided low-key and helpful sensory input activities. In addition to sensory input activities, there were regular visits with the kids from the State Fair Ambassadogs (therapy dogs) and meet and greets with the State Fair queen. The Sensory Station was set up in the Youth Hall and open 10-6 daily for the full run of the fair. The fair can be overwhelming for some guests, that’s why we teamed up with New Mexico Autism Society and other local organizations to provide a space where families could take a break from the crowds and noise. The Autism Society provided critical feedback and guidance to ensure the new station provided the best experience for those guests with special needs. “We were happy to be included among a very distinguished list of fairs in competition for this award. What we think set us apart from the others was the fact that our initiative was focused on making the state fair a fun and memorable experience for all fairgoers, including those who may require additional accommodations. We are extremely proud that our efforts have been acknowledged in this way and will serve as a benchmark for other big events throughout the region,” said Dan Mourning, General Manager of the NMSF. "Providing an accommodation like the ‘Sensory Station’ at the State Fair is a huge step towards inclusion, awareness, acceptance and opportunity in the community! We could not be more proud that New Mexico's own State Fair is leading the way and setting this example for other fairs throughout the United States and this award speaks volumes to their success in this regard,” said Sarah Baca, Director of the New Mexico Autism Society. In addition to the active involvement of the autism society, several other organizations and individuals stepped up to volunteer their time and expertise at the Sensory Station. They included the following: • Autism Learning Partners • Autism Spectrum Therapies • Behavior Change Institute • Bridges • Centria • Chatterbox • ExplorAbilites • KidPower • Pathways Academy • New Mexico Autism Society Board of Directors • UNM-CDD • Explora • Rio Grande Foam Information regarding the Merrill Award and the NMSF submission can be found via the following link: www.westernfairs.org/p/convention/awards/merrill [read more…]
  • Saying goodbye to 2017One of my favorite quotes is "the only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you have come!" Looking back on 2017, reflecting on what we have accomplished, the first thing that comes to mind is collaboration! Reflecting on 2017 and thinking about what The New Mexico Autism Society has accomplished I am humbled knowing that that our collaborative efforts are making a difference in the lives of those affected by autism! We are thankful for those      collaborations in 2017 and are looking forward to an even better 2018. For 2017 here is a glimpse of what we accomplished! Kicking off a busy and successful 2017 was our advocacy efforts at the Legislative Session. During the 2017 legislative session, the New Mexico Autism Society worked to make sure your voices were heard. It was an uphill climb but once again we were successful in creating a compromise for everyone affected by the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in our school system. Insurance reform will always need work, but we can assure you that what started in 2017 in extending insurance   coverage for ABA to our adults, will be something we keep a close eye on in 2018 and beyond. As part of a task force with many stakeholders, the New Mexico Autism Society is in the conversation on how New Mexico can be a better place to live for ALL affected by autism. The Ellen Reavis Walk for Autism and Brotherhood Motorcycle Ride for Autism drew over 1,500 people to Balloon Fiesta Park on a beautiful April day. We honored and celebrated those individuals in our lives affected by autism! Activates for young and old, a resource fair that showcased organizations and businesses serving those with autism, and of course, who could forget our guests from Minecraft? We hope you will make plans in 2018 to join us on April 7th “Under the Big Top!” Throughout the year NMAS strengthened their relationship with Explora and for the first time ever created a summer camp for those affected by autism. In addition to the camp, Sensory Friendly Hours and the no cost memberships for those in the autism community were a huge hit! Look for bigger things in 2018! Strengthening relationships with providers has been a big priority for NMAS and in 2017 with the help of our AMAZING providers we were able to create  social outings for the community that were 1. Fun 2. Educational 3. Rewarding and 4. FUN From Roswell, to Acoma through the highways to Farmington. A short trip to Santa Fe, or Los Lunas, Albuquerque, Grants and Los Alamos, providing a community of acceptance, support and connection is our driving force! Volunteers throughout NM dedicate hundreds of hours to creating a better community, and for them I am thankful! On the 4th Monday of each month, you will find a group of teens gathering and sharing stories, laughing and having fun! Our adults with autism support group every month brings together adults of all ages, from newly diagnosed to those who have been diagnosed years ago. An opportunity to talk about employment challenges, coping mechanisms and so much more! Moms and Dads should never feel alone on “Autism Street,” and our Moms and Dads Meet ups provide an outlet to realize, quite the opposite! The 2017 New Mexico State Fair wanted to create a more inclusive environment for fairgoers this year! So within two months our collaboration resulted in a “Sensory Station,” that was utilized by over 1,000 visitors. People from throughout NM found the experience calming and re-energizing for their loved one with special needs. The “Sensory Station” is a finalist for a popular industry award, the Merrill Award, and it is our hope, that it will be duplicated throughout the United States! During 2017 we were welcomed in to organizations and business to increase their awareness of autism. Fidelity Investments opened their doors and minds to NMAS and increased their knowledge on autism. It started the conversation on how an employer can better serve those affected by autism in the workplace! The 4-H leaders of NM welcomed NMAS into their leadership training for county extension leaders from throughout NM! It excites me to see how they want every child to feel included in the 4H experience! Depending on how you look at it, 2017 in the autism community can be perceived in many ways. State Funding was cut to most of autism services and supports which was devastating news. We at the New Mexico Autism Society saw the effects in the livelihood of many individuals in community because of this decision. It is our hope that 2018 will bring back the joy that these programs provide to so many of you! NMAS is very fortunate in that we do not receive any state funds, however NMAS relies heavily on the generosity of our donors (private and business), fundraisers, foundations, and grants. None of what we accomplished in 2017 could have happened without YOU, and for that I cannot thank you enough! Now that we are down to the last few days in 2017 and reflecting on an amazing year, we need your help! We are asking that as you consider your year end-giving whether it is $5, $10, $50 or $100 dollars to be made to the New Mexico Autism Society! You can make an impact, you can continue to help us grow and create a bigger community of acceptance, support and connection in New Mexico! Already starting in 2018 we have a lot planned!  We are looking forward to working with local law enforcement agencies to create a mandatory first-responder training specifically related to autism! On January 18th the Albuquerque City Council will consider a resolution to do just that! Don't forget to subscribe to our text alerts for notifications of community events as well as other important calls to action, including a call to action for the above resolution and other important legislative action. Subscribe to text alerts by entering this number: 81010 Text this message:  @nmautism Your year-end gifts can change lives. $5 donation can pay for a child to experience a sensory friendly movie $20 donation can pay for activities at a Teen Night $100 can provide 2 personal training sessions at Ninja Park for an individual with autism $200 can pay for an Autism 101 training for an organization or business. DONATE TODAY We rely on your contributions! Thank you for helping those affected by autism in NM! We are looking forward to seeing you in 2018! Cheers, Sarah Baca, Executive Director [read more…]

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