DECEMBER 2019 | ISSUE 148
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season


From everyone at Arizona Autism United, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with prosperity and success!.

We look forward to seeing you next year and are exited to open the doors to our new East Valley Center in 2020!
New Year, New Center
 

Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin,  CEO

In early 2020, AZA United will be opening our new center in the city of Mesa, the first autism-certified city in the world!
 
AZA United was founded fourteen years ago, when a group of local families in desperate need of quality services for their children, came together to find a way to address this issue. Our solution was to create a nonprofit organization with a very clear mission to help as many families as possible with individualized supports. From day one, it has been our commitment to work together with families to achieve their goals, and their own personal definition of success. Knowing how big the need is, our vision has always been to expand across the valley and the state.

We started by serving just a few families who believed in what we were doing. Soon after, the demand for our services all over the valley became constant. We have built a large support system that now includes about 500 employees serving 800 children and families each year. We're proud of this growth, but we know it is not nearly enough to meet the needs of our community. For that reason, we are taking a major step forward to fulfilling the long-term vision by opening our first therapeutic clinic in Mesa.

After three years of planning and development, we are finally ready to open AZA United's new East Valley Center in early 2020. This center will offer a range of innovative therapies and programs and will serve an estimated 250 additional families. But the center will have even greater impact as we will be able to recruit and train more local staff to help more East Valley families with our existing home-based services, such as, Speech Therapy, ABA, Habilitation & Respite Care. We are also planning on engaging the broader autism community with evening and weekend activities including workshops, trainings, sibling events and social activities for families.

A few months ago, we purchased a building which will house our new East Valley Center, and since then we have been busy getting the place ready for the kids.  I'm happy to say that we are almost there!  The last thing we need is furniture, toys and therapy materials.  If you have any gently used items that you would like to donate, please contact us!  Just send an email to   info@azaunited.org  and let us know what you have. 

Together we can build a better tomorrow for our community!  Happy holidays and see you next decade :)

Dr. ABR
Easing Holiday Stress for Children with Autism


Olivia Fryer, Outreach Specialist

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for anyone. Our senses can easily go into overload with all the new smells, sounds, textures and lighting that comes with the holidays.   Think pinecones, flashing lights, loud music and cooler weather, even hail nowadays. These new sensations can be difficult to avoid and the expectations alone can be daunting, thus preparation and strategizing is key to help ourselves or our loved ones feel more at ease.
 
Routine
Changes in routine and schedules can be challenging. Children go from having a structured day at school and therapies, to winter vacation with the high probability that their therapy schedules have been changed or perhaps temporarily halted due to the holiday season. Letting your child know well in advance of any schedule changes can be especially helpful. Of course, as we enter flu season, we can never prepare for changes that occur due to illness. Perhaps have a backup plan of fun and sensory seeking activities that can be done if a provider must take a sick day or if the weather is unseasonably cold and dreary. Click here to check out this great list of social stories and holiday activities from The Autism Helper that can help you navigate the winter break. Discuss the holiday schedule with your providers in advance so that everyone can be aware of any changes and vacations. Keeping a family calendar that is easily visible to all can be a helpful reminder to keep track of schedules.
 
Traveling
Whether you're traveling across the state or country, traveling can be difficult on our bodies; from sitting in a car or crowded airplane for an extended period to having new accommodations. Remember to plan time to stretch or take a mental break. Having preferred and calming music along your travels can make the ride easier and fun. Consider having reinforcers to hand out along your journey and make sure to give plenty of praise!
 
Staying at an unfamiliar location, such as a hotel or relative's home, can be hard because your loved one may lose a sense of security and their "safe place." If you're staying at a hotel, make sure to discuss with the staff your family's needs regarding safety. Perhaps you'll be most comfortable on a more family friendly level of the hotel with easy access to the pool or maybe you would prefer not to be within clear site of the pool. Don't hesitate to ask about security, even if that means you'll just have an extra chair to put in front of the door. Perhaps consider bringing your own door chime and stop signs to place on exits.
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Direct Your Tax Credit to Helping Arizona Families
 

Every family and person with autism has their own definition of success. Together we can help them get there. 

Your gift helps change the lives of  kids and families  living with autism. 83 cents of every dollar raised go directly to our  expansion efforts  to  help more kids  and families in our community.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors from previous years, we will soon be opening a  new AZA United center  in the East Valley. This is an exciting first step towards our valley wide expansion goal to increase access to care for families, but we still need a lot of help!

Arizona Autism United  is qualified through the state of Arizona for the  Charitable Organization Tax Credit . This unique program allows donors can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to  $400 for individuals , or  $800 for married couples . This program makes it possible for everyone to make a significant contribution and receive a refund or tax credit for the full amount!

We also have a new opportunity to support our new East Valley Center and  have your name displayed on a new Donor Recognition Wall . Click here to donate and for more details about our donor wall, or contact us to learn more! Thank you for your support!

Click  here  to view  our  2019 Annual Report , to learn about the impact we have made with your help in the community. 
Thank You Surprise FOE Aerie
 

Arizona Autism United would like to thank the Surprise Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #4534 for their donation! The Surprise FOE Aerie was chartered in 2011 and is a fraternal non-profit organziation dedicated to helping charities through monetary contributions and support.  
To date, the Aerie has over 900 members. Their motto is "People Helping People." The Surprise Eagles graciously selected AZA United as their November charity of choice. 

Thank you for your support! 
Announcements

The office of Arizona Autism United will be closed on Tuesday, December 24th and Wednesday, December 25th.

The office will also be closed on Tuesday, December 31st and Wednesday, January 1st.  

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday!


Upcoming Events

Please be advised that there will be no  Sibshops during the month of January. Sibshops will resume in February of 2020.

Stay tuned for more details!



Link of the Month


The Inclusive Class blog was created by Nicole Eredics, an educator who advocates for the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. She has created a website, along with social media channels, to provide information and tips for including ALL learners in the classroom. 

Click here to visit The Inclusive Class.
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Arizona Autism United | info@azaunited.org | 602.773.5773 | AZAunited.org