In 2017, the Philadelphia Autism Project announced the release of GRants for Autism Advocacy and Support (GRAAS). GRAAS funded the creation of self-advocacy and/or support groups in Philadelphia, as well as existing groups, in making them stronger or able to reach out to more people. The goal of GRAAS is to support individuals with autism and their families, including siblings, in starting or strengthening self-advocacy and/or peer support groups for individuals living in Philadelphia. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a list of the GRAAS recipients and a description of the groups they are creating or expanding! Contact information may be listed for some groups; please feel free to contact those individuals if you are interested in learning more about the group and/or want to get involved.
ASPERation is a social group and platform for adults on the autism spectrum to meet and discuss the ways in which our neurodiversity influences our lives. We seek to engage out strengths, support each other with challenges, and come together to advocate and promote acceptance for autism. Monthly meetings will be held starting on December 2, 2017 at 2pm.
Contact: Alice Koumenis Email: Akoumenis@gmail.com
Au-Some Lives group will serve teenagers and young adults on the spectrum by providing support, sharing resources and opportunities with their peers. In addition to providing support by sharing resources and having experts in the field come out and connect with group members, Au-Some Lives plan to provide peer engagement and vocational development opportunities.
Contact: Afea Tucker Email: email@example.com
Fumo Library Gaming Club
Fumo Gaming Club is an inclusive, bully-free, and sensory-friendly club for kids who enjoy games of all kinds. Card games, console games, board games, tablet games, role-playing games, and more! Bring a favorite game from home, or use the library’s collection. Attendance is free, and pre-registration is not required. However, space is limited, and on a first-come first-served basis.
Contact: John Crimsons Address: Children’s Librarian, Free Library of Philadelphia, Fumo Family Branch Library Phone: (215) 685-1758 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jaden’s Voice Support Group
Jaden’s Voice Support Group for parents and caregivers of individuals with autism. The goal of the group will be to inform, educate, and empower parents and caregivers with tools, resources, and services to become better advocates for their loved ones with autism.
Contact: Charo Jackson Email: email@example.com Local Office: 267-223-6590 Main Office: 800-825-8950
Liberty Resources and Vision for Equality
Liberty Resources and Vision for Equality (group to be named later) in collaboration with Bill Krebs will create a cross disability support and self-advocacy group for individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities. The goals of the group will be driven by its members and will provide a forum to discuss and share experiences, resources, and promote self-advocacy.
Contact: Bill Krebs Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace of Mind Social Services
Peace of Mind Social Services is an advocacy group for parents and caregivers who are recently informed of their child’s diagnosis. The group will educate parents and caregivers on how to access and advocate for resources and programs for their child’s needs. Additional goals of the group include supporting transition age youth into adulthood through social opportunities.
Contact: Tisa Coleman Address: P.O. Box 30271 Elkins Park, PA 19027
Phone: 267-496-4866 Email: Helpinghand@pomss.org Website: Peaceofmind-socialservice.squarespace.com
Pennsylvania Sibling Support Network
Pennsylvania Sibling Support Network will expand their existing support groups which provide resources, training and advocacy support to individuals, siblings, parents, caregivers and family members.
Contact: Lynne Mack Email: email@example.com
Project Elijah Empowering Autism
Project Elijah Empowering Autism will build upon their existing group, which provides weekly activities that all families can take part in, including parent support meetings and trainings.
Contact: Eric Williams Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Refugee Autism Support Group
Refugee Autism Support Group will focus on creating a forum to address the needs, education and advocacy for families of children with autism from the Burmese and Bhutanese communities. Led by a community leader, this group’s goals are to provide support to community members through discussion around education, behavior management, advocacy/access to services, reduction of stigma, and increased communication between parents.
Contact: Melissa Fogg Email: email@example.com
Self-Advocacy Group (group to be named later) facilitated by Dylan Moody is committed to serving young adults on the autism spectrum through resource sharing and social activities. The group will invite speakers to talk about employment, housing, volunteer work, or other resources.
Contact: Dylan Moody Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Xchanges is a support group serves college students with autism who attend Temple University. The group participants meet weekly to provide peer support and social engagement, including a discussion of a social learning topic and a recreational activity.
Contact: Aaron Spector Email: email@example.com
The Southwest Child Guidance Family Support Group
The Southwest Child Guidance Family Support Group will expand services currently provided for parents and caregivers of children with autism at Southwest Child Guidance Resource Center. The group holds meetings on the first Thursday of each month and the discussions include topics of community resources, events, and advocacy in the educational system.
Contact: Shari Sims Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spectrum Success 911
Spectrum Success 911 will host a group that will meet twice a month and allow parents to openly and honestly express their feelings and experiences after finding out their child has autism. The group will also educate families about therapeutic games they can use to support their family.
Contact: Khylil Robinson and Michele Abraham Montgomery Email: email@example.com
Supporting Families and Professionals through Communication for Autism and Special Needs
Supporting Families and Professionals through Communication for Autism and Special Needs will create a group to bridge the gap between families and professionals by inviting both to share their experiences and expertise. The group will help families and providers be heard by providing an open dialogue to get many answers to questions answered and assist providers in learning more about how to approach families, especially for medically involved children.
Contact: Joan Nelson, Northeast Support Group Navigated by Families Phone:267-642-1321 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
#wearethriving will be a peer support/advocacy group for students with autism ages 11 – 21 who attend the MYA Middle School and Parkway West High School. The group’s objectives include providing a supportive environment to help in the development of resiliency skills, providing social training, determining shared interests, community integration, transition opportunities, and opportunities for parents to receive training and insight to services.
Contact: Ivey Welshans Email: email@example.com
West Philadelphia Parents for Autism Children Sensory Social Supports
West Philadelphia Parents for Autism Children Sensory Social Supports (PACSSS) is a monthly group for parents and caregivers of teens and young adults with autism, who are dealing with transitioning and advocacy. The group seeks to inform parents and young adults on how to navigate the system and learn what is available to them. It will also be a safe place to share information and meet other families.
Contact: Roberta Bellamy Email: firstname.lastname@example.org