April 2021

Autism Acceptance Month

Next CRAAG Meetings
April 28th
Forty-three people responded to CRAAG's meeting time poll: 44% preferred mornings and 56% preferred evenings. Professionals, for the most part, preferred mornings.

As CRAAG reorganizes to boost engagement of both families and professionals, it makes the most sense to hold two meetings on April 28 - everyone wins!
April 28th Agenda

Pick your time! One Link for Both!

10 to Noon
6:30 to 8:30 pm

  1. Meeting Overview
  2. Housing Work Group Proposal
  3. Q & A and Discussion
  4. Next Steps for Work Groups
Do you want the link for the April 28th?
Two options: virtual at 10 to Noon and 6:30 to 8:30 pm

04/28/21 - 04/28/21

Attend the meeting that best suits your schedule.
Yes, please send me the link!
The rainbow infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum.
We Need Autism Acceptance at the
Individual and Societal Levels
In recognition of April's Autism Acceptance Month, we are linking two articles by female self-advocates. Both articles provide thoughtful and positive perspectives on the need for increased acceptance.
1.  From the United States: Moving Beyond Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance. The article promotes the "concept of neurodiversity embraced by many autistic advocates, which acknowledges the collective strength that comes from natural variation in human brains and, thus, lends itself to championing support and accommodations for those who diverge from the norm, rather than attempts to 'cure' or 'normalize' autistic people." (Psychology Today)

2.  From New Zealand: Autism Awareness or Autism Acceptance? For this author, "autism acceptance means simply that – acceptance, even embracing, of autistics and autism, making us welcome in the world. It’s about recognizing that we are members of the human community, and just as deserving of basic human rights, even while acknowledging that our humanness is expressed differently." (Altogether Autism)
Updates from the
March 24, 2021 CRAAG Meeting
Many thanks to the 35 individuals who attended the evening meeting to discuss CRAAG’s 2021 Housing, Supports and Services Survey. This included twenty-eight family members and seven professionals representing CA Human Services, Compass, The Faison Center, and Region Ten Case Management. Thanks to everyone who joined us that evening!
The survey, created by a team of CRAAG supporters, asked respondents about their needs, hopes, and concerns in the next five years. The target audience was self-advocates, high school students who will graduate this year and next, and their families.
We had no idea what to expect in terms of self-advocate or family participation in the survey and greatly appreciated the time and effort of the 80 respondents. Upon completing the survey, sixty-five of these individuals self-identified in order to stay connected to CRAAG or participate in networking with other families. We were also encouraged by the support of local partners who circulated the survey to the families they serve, including these organizations:
Most Read Article in February 2021
CRAAG is now tracking the most read article in each newsletter and linking to it in the following newsletter. Here is the link to February 2021's winner - Updates from the January 27, 2020 CRAAG Meeting.

Connect Engage
Learn & Change

Be Sure to Click Keep Reading Or You'll Miss Important Updates From:

Charlottesville Parks & Rec, Moms in Motion, Parent Resource Center (PRC), Special Olympics, TJ EMS Council, UVA STAR, Virginia Institute of Autism
and Wall Residences!

CA HUMAN SERVICES: Join CA’s Mailing List Here! Read the latest News You Can Use CA newsletter. To understand the experiences and preferences of individuals with ASD and their families in navigating ASD information, supports, services, and resources, CA Human Services has contracted with Knowledge Advisory Group (KAG) to conduct focus groups and surveys. KAG will also collect input from service providers and partners in the ASD professional community for this initiative. At the conclusion of this study, CA will share the results with stakeholders across the Commonwealth and work together to remove barriers to improve the experience. CA is currently recruiting participants for 1-hour focus groups, which will take place between April 26th to May 14thTo get involved or learn more, read CA’s letter
CRAAG and SIS: On April 21st several representatives of CRAAG will attend the annual SIS Stakeholders Meeting. This meeting brings together stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to share information about how the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) evaluation process is working. CRAAG is looking for feedback from readers. Do you have a recent SIS experience to share with CRAAG? Please email us ASAP. We appreciate your help. 

Spotlight on Housing, Supports & Services

Thanks to Matt Osborne, Faison Center, for sharing this link. Click to download a comprehensive Guide to supportive housing in New Jersey. Why New Jersey? "It contains information that is beneficial to families regardless of state of residence. The journey to arriving at a housing solution can be a long one. It is vital for individuals with disabilities and their families to understand how the process works" wherever they live.

Do you have a link to share with CRAAG? Email to share with CRAAG.

CRAAG began in 2010 in collaboration with CA Human Services (formerly Commonwealth Autism). CRAAG’s mission is to raise awareness and enhance the quality of life for people with autism, developmental disabilities, and their families in Charlottesville City, Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson counties. As a volunteer action group, our members are families, self-advocates, and professionals who are interested in all age groups and levels of need. The daily concerns of CRAAG's active volunteers inform our focus on the needs of students transitioning out of high school, adults throughout the lifespan, and their families. Our advocacy is person-centered and aimed at maximizing housing, supports, services, meaningful employment, social connectivity, and community engagement.