Community Grant Recipients Objectives and Outcomes

Since 2007, Autism Speaks has awarded over $3 million to 141 organizations from around the country through our Community Grants program, which is designed to promote autism services that enhance the lives of those affected by autism.

The grant recipients have provided us with reports of their objectives and outcomes to help other organizations and the community take advantage of and replicate the resources they were able to develop and expand upon with funding from Autism Speaks.

Below there are several final reports and resources we'd like to highlight. We will continuously post new reports and resources from our grant recipients on this page.

To read about the rest of our Family Services Community Grants recipients and view their final report documents, visit our grants database.

HAVE Dreams: Training School Social Workers
A Social Skills Program

This project provided comprehensive, practice driven, experiential training to 100 school social workers who directly work with many individuals across the autism spectrum. The training focused on how to provide social developmental skills interventions within school settings. 

By attending the training, participants increased their confidence in their ability to teach social behavior, at any level of social ability, to individuals with ASD. They developed a series of PowerPoint lectures covering topics surrounding autism spectrum characteristics, learning style, social and play development, structured approaches to learning, visual supports for social skills, visual supports for social communication, etc.

"The training was extremely informative, and I learned more in one day about Autism and how to work with children who are on the spectrum than I have in years!" - a participating social worker

Click here to view the Final Report from the HAVE Dreams Social Skills program. 

Roses for Autism
A Vocational Training Program

Roses for Autism is a unique venture, combining training and employment of people on the autism spectrum with the growth and sale of flowers.  This is a business that not only employs people; it employs people who have an unacceptably high level of unemployment. The successes being demonstrated are the foundation for replicating the model’s best practices in other agricultural settings as well as other industries.

Roses for Autism was recognized as the 2011 Business of the Year by the Connecticut General Legislature and Autism advocates. The organization received the Connecticut Rookie of the Year 2011 award from the Connecticut Florist’s Association.

Click here to view the final report from the Roses for Autism program, and to learn how you too can create a successful vocational training program.

The Safe Signals Project
A Safety Program

Safe Signals is a project from the Ohio State University Medical Center, designed to promote fire and burn safety for older teens and young adults. The materials were written for young adults and parents to talk about safety. They were created by health professionals and educators who had the chance to work with and learn from young adults on the autism spectrum.

The Safe Signals workbook and video cover fire and burn safety in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living areas and utility spaces. They were created by health professionals and educators who had the chance to work with and learn from young adults on the autism spectrum.

Click here to watch the video.

SNAP: Special Needs Athletic Programs
A Recreation Program

The focus of SNAP is to incorporate a “children teaching children” model into all aspects of programming and create a culture of compassion for and acceptance of all children. SNAP created a training module for young people that teaches ways to interact with children with special needs with the final outcome of forming long-term mentor relationships. 

"For me this changed who I am, inside and out." - a mentor in the SNAP program

Click here to learn about the SNAP Mentor program, and how it was modified to achieve success.

Build On Special Strengths
A College Support Program

The primary objective of this program was to enhance opportunities for student success in college by educating professors so that they understand the unique learning challenges associated with ASD, and are able to employ classroom strategies to enable all students to succeed. 

Major activities conducted during the grant period included (a) development of a manual to help faculty accommodate students with autism spectrum disorders in college courses, (b) production of a training video to illustrate strategies for faculty to increase academic engagement of students with ASD, and (c) dissemination of information through presentations and publications to increase understanding of student learning differences at the college level.

Click here to read the Final Report from the Pace University Build on Special Strengths College Support Program. 

To Drive or Not to Drive? Helping the Person with ASD Decide
A Program for Young Adults

This project from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center entailed the development of a toolkit and an educational video to facilitate decisions about whether an individual with ASD might consider driving in the future. In addition to the toolkit and video, this program sought to increase awareness of the potential driving capabilities of ASD& individuals, identify and validate the needs and challenges related to driving that require evaluation in individuals with ASD, and to educate people with ASD, family members and health providers regarding ways to initiate important discussions about driving.

Click here to view the DriveAdvise Final Report.

Click here to watch the video!

Advancing Teaching of Music and Dance to Individuals with ASD
A Music Program

The objective of this project was to grow and institutionalize the capacity of Neighborhood Music School (NMS)—one of the largest community schools of the arts in the US—to provide high-quality music and dance instruction to students with special needs. Autism Speaks funding contributed to Phase 2 of this program, during which the Special Needs team moved from being a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. Over the 12 months from January to December 2011, a tremendous amount was accomplished.

"On the day of the last session, I heard the heartwarming sound of children singing Christmas Carols. It was clearly the students that were participating in the singing sessions. I was so taken at how successful the children had become. It was a great moment!" 

Click here to learn about the objectives and outcomes of this successful music program for individuals with autism!

Healthy Sexuality
A Transition Program

The Healthy Sexuality initiative sought to benefit four WJCS programs for teens and young adults with autism by embedding a healthy sexuality skills-based curriculum into the programs. This pilot initiative was designed to lay the foundations for healthy sexuality and interpersonal relationships to support participants as they transition into various stages of adolescent development and as they integrate into the adult community.

Based on the pre- and post- intervention assessments, members in all three groups demonstrated a distinct increase in both knowledge and comfort level in discussing issues of sexuality.  

Click here to view the Power Point presentation: An Introduction to Healthy Sexuality and Relationship Development for Learners with ASDs.

These are just a few of the 141 programs we have funded since 2007. To read about the rest of our Family Services Community Grants recipients and view their final report documents, visit our grants database and search Family Services.

If you have any questions about our Community Grants program, please contact Serena Selkin at sselkin@autismspeaks.org.