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Your Dollars @ Work: Autismo y Familia Conference for Spanish Speakers

In 2013, Autism Speaks provided a Chapter Grant of $5,000 to ACT Today! to fund Autismo y Familia, a free Spanish autism conference for Spanish-speaking families in the Southern California area. The below post is excerpted from a press release announcing the event. The Chapter, Regional and Neighborhood Grant applications will open next Monday, June 2. Stay tuned!

On Friday, May 16, ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), in collaboration with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), hosted the inaugural Autismo y Familia Conference at the Children's Institute, Inc. in Los Angeles. Approximately 100 attendees attended the free conference which was conducted in Spanish. The conference brought together parents, advocates and community leaders for a day dedicated to Hispanic families and their children with autism. Local agencies and political leaders helped to make the conference a success. 

The conference featured workshops that addressed diagnosis, intervention options and advocacy for families affected by autism.

“What I liked most about the conference was listening to the parent testimonials and knowing there is a possibility my child with autism could make it to college someday," says Monserrat Maldonado, a parent of a child with autism.

“The success of this conference shows there is a need for more education and autism resources within the Hispanic community,” says Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, executive director of ACT Today!. “This conference will be a fixture of our ACT Today! Español program, which was established to address the language barriers which hinder Spanish-speaking individuals from accessing healthcare resources and treatment services that are critical to the health and future of their children.”

The conference included opening remarks by Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Carlos Manuel Sada, the Cónsul General of México in Los Angeles. Presenters included ACT Today! Español spokesperson and broadcast journalist Gabriela Teissier (Univision) and autism advocate Francis Gomez, CARD case manager Sylvia Guzman, CARD supervisor Wendy Jacobo, special needs attorney Ines Kuperschmit, and advocates Maria Almanza and Josefina Nieves of Fiesta Educativa.

"The participation and support at the Autismo y Familia Conference was phenomenal and I believe it demonstrates what is possible when various organizations work together for the good of our autism community," Alspaugh-Jackson, Executive Director of ACT Today!.

Attendees received complimentary Autism Information Kits at the end of the event. Each kit included informational materials from ACT Today!, Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Learning Rights Law Center, Fiesta Educativa, Consulado General de Mexico en Los Angeles (SRE) and Fiesta Educativa.

Click here for a list of Spanish resources from Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks also has two bilingual Autism Response Team members available to provide resources and information to Spanish-speaking families. They can be reached at 888-772-9050.

Your Dollars @ Work is a blog series highlighting the important work of past recipients of Autism Speaks grants to give you a glimpse into how your donations are changing lives of so many in the autism community! Check out previous entries here.