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Calls to Action

Family Services

This year's celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is marked by new progress at the state and federal levels to increase job opportunities tempered by sobering reminders of the disproportionately high unemployment that persists within the disabilities community.

Autism Speaks is raising awareness of the issue through a series of nationwide Small Business Town Halls, including events Oct. 21 in Dallas and Oct. 23 outside Chicago.

Jacob Barreiro, a photojournalist with the United States Air Force at Little Rock Air Force Base, recently profiled Master Sgt. Beth Jungk, who has been raising her  daughter, Morgan, 14, at the base while serving her country with the 19th Communications Squadron. Morgan has been diagnosed with autism, epilepsy, kabuki syndrome and other conditions.

Autism Speaks, through its Family Services Community Grants program, is currently funding a project at the University of Northern Iowa called Imagine the Possibilities: Creating Dramatic Worlds with Young on the Autism Spectrum. This project will focus on social skills training, peer modeling and inclusion through a drama based program for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Marianne Sullivan's 20 year old son, Hunter, has severe autism. Marianne works on the Autism Speaks Family Services Team.

What to give to a young adult with autism as a holiday gift? Clothes don't quite do it. Computer games can become a bit boring. Money delights but is not much of a creative task for the person giving. After a lot of thought, let me describe what I decided to do this year, and perhaps it may offer you some ideas when it comes to a special gift option for a young adult with autism.