FEATure Happy Holidays!
FEAT wishes you and yours a very happy holiday season!
Why Children with Autism need Holiday Traditions
To read full article CLICK HERE

The holiday season is a joyful time of the year, but it also can be stressful for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Preparing and planning early for the holidays can help you relieve some of the holidaystress.

Unexpected changes put stress in these children's already stressful lives. Parents don't want to add stress to their children's lives, and the children often don't handle it well. While it's obviously impossible to shield your child from every schedule change of the holiday season, from October through the beginning of January, (nor is it healthy), it is possible to make it easier on them, to give them a transition period they can not only enjoy, but also look forward to.

If you build changes into your family plans, in other words, family traditions that you carry out every year, your child will begin to count on those events as safe and fun. If you can find holiday traditions that you carry out every year, your child will not only adjust to the change, but will have something to look forward to. Some ideas for traditions are these:
  • Buying a live Christmas tree
  • Watching the same Christmas movie on a certain date(s) each year.
  • A date out with Mom or Dad for a special holiday treat like hot chocolate.
  • Bake cookies for someone like grandparents, neighbors, or your own family
  • Having the Christmas stockings hung in the same order each year
  • Making a special ornament for the tree each year.

Links to Holiday Social Stories and More

Let It Snow!!!!
Bringing real snowflakes inside individually is next to impossible. So, to work around this conundrum, we've come up with the Magic Crystal Snowflake. This special snowflake is just a beautiful and unique as a snowflake from the sky, but it won't melt! The Magic Crystal Snowflake uses some fun hands-on chemistry and makes a perfect holiday experiment and ornament.
  • Pipe cleaners (white or light blue, if possible) 
  • String 
  • Wide-mouthed jar 
  • Borax (check your local grocer's laundry section) 
  • A pencil 
  • Boiling water  
  • Scissors 
  • Adult supervision
Step 1
Using a pair of scissors, cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.

Step 2
Twist the three pipe cleaner sections together at their centers to form a six-sided snowflake. 

Step 3
Tie a string to  the snowflake and a pencil. You want the length of your string to be enough that the snowflake hangs into the jar but doesn't touch the bottom. 

Step 4
Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour into the jar. Add 3 tablespoons of borax per each cup of water a stir. It's alright if some borax settles to the bottom of the jar. Make sure you have enough water to totally cover the snowflake.

Step 5
Let it sit over night. 
The next day, check out the gorgeous crystals! Untie the string from the pencil and you've got yourself a great holiday decoration.

Follow the snowflake directions but use straight pipe cleaners in shades of blue. You can hang over the edge of the jar rather than tie them to a pencil.

12 Days of Gluten-Free
Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just around the corner and whether you celebrate or not, one thing is for sure - holiday baking is for everyone! The ovens are cranking at full steam in kitchens around the world and just because you're gluten-free, it doesn't mean you can't join in on the delicious fun. We've put together a collection of 12 festive and gluten-free holiday cookies that are perfect to whip up during your vacation as gifts for your family and friends...or to fill your own cookie jar for those midnight sweet tooth cravings.


3. Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies                                      9. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

5. Gluten-Free Gingersnaps                                        11. GF Holiday Reindeer Treats

FEATure New Updates
Mark your calendars and stay in touch

FEAT Monthly Parent Meetings  
Meeting Dates Are Changing in 2016

We have had many requests to change the night of our monthly meetings. We have listened and s tarting in 2016, we will be 2nd Thursday of each month. 
Mark your calendar and join us at one of our meetings in 2016.

Making New Memories With Your Best Buddies
An update on the FEAT partnership with Best Buddies of Kentucky and Trinity High School.

There's no better way to start friendships than with pizza. Trinity members of Best Buddies did just that when they met some new friends through FEAT of Louisville for the first time at Clifton's Pizza on Oct. 8. The Rocks' first-year Best Buddies chapter gives Trinity students the opportunity to become friends with individuals who have autism.

The program doesn't focus on what makes them different but instead on how similar the students are.  "You might see someone with a disability, but that's not the whole person and never is," Trinity student Ryan Cardwell said.

Mr. Rob Seng moderates the Trinity chapter. He decided to get involved with FEAT of Louisville and Best Buddies because of a personal connection.  Seng said, "What drew me to this club was that I have a son with Asperger's, so when he comes of age, this is definitely a club that I'd want him to be involved in."

The club is casual, giving members the freedom to choose how often they want to meet with their buddy. "We want the minimum to be twice a month," Seng said. "What we'd like to do is touch base with email, text or social media, but try and do something person-to-person at least once a month. How often they decide to meet is totally up to them." 

On November 17, through the generous grant award from Phillip Gahm and the CHAMP Foundation, the FEAT boys, their parents and their Best Buddies watched UofL stomp the Hartford Hawks at the YUM! Center in the comforts of Mr. Gahm's suite. 

RSVP support@featoflouisville.org  by Monday, December 14, 2015

FEATure  Generosity
YOU make a difference in Louisville's autism community!

CHAMP Foundation
We would like to send a very special thank you to Phillip Gahm and the CHAMP Foundation for hosting our FEAT boys and their Best Buddies at the U of L vs Hartford basketball game. 

As if getting to watch The Cards play from Mr. Gahm's suite wasn't enough, he surprised us with a generous donation of $1000 towards our Best Buddies program. Mr. Gahm truly knows how to "pay-it-forward." Thank you.

Louisville Metro Grant Award
We would like to humbly thank The Louisville Metro for their continued support of our mission as they awarded us a grant of $4000.

With Louisville Metro's generous award, FEAT will be able to continue provide  assistance for the students of the Endeavor Program.

The Independant Pilots Association 
We would like to extend our gratitude to the Independent Pilots Association Foundation for their continued support of our mission.

The IPA grant award of $6256 has allowed FEAT to purchase items for our Endeavor Program, Job Coaching program at BCA and for our organization to provide better training for parents.

Fraternal Order of Eagles
We are so grateful to the Kentucky Fraternal Order of the Eagles and the J-Town Chapter. Sarah Just, President of the  Kentucky Fraternal Order of the Eagles, awarded a $2500 grant to FEAT. FEAT is very close to Sarah's heart as her grandchild has autism. The J-Town Chapter was also very generous and donated $5000 to support our mission.

FEATure In The Community
Bringing Awareness & Acceptance to Kentuckiana
StageOne Family Theatre 
Sensory Friendly performances all season long!

Sensory-friendly live theater performances are designed to create a safe and nurturing environment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, and families that want a more relaxed theater setting. In an ongoing commitment to arts inclusion, StageOne piloted their first sensory-friendly performance in 2013 with The House at Pooh Corner. This was a first for ANY live theater in the state of Kentucky. While attendance was small, they added Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly to the schedule. In 2014, they expanded SF performances to every production that season, making sensory friendly a mainstay in their programming.  Accommodations for these performances are minimal and include keeping the theatre lights dimmed, providing extra space between patrons, freedom to vocalize and move/switch seats, and allowing patrons to exit and enter during the performance. A "quiet room" at the back of the theater also provides continued viewing away from the audience should families need it.

These performances have been a liberating experience for families, giving them the freedom to experience something together in a safe environment; many for the first time. For Carrie Bohnert, this was a breakthrough for her family. 
"For the first time, my daughter was able to feel safe in the theater. The typical theater environment is very threatening to her...staying for an entire show takes a huge amount of coaching and negotiation and leaves us all exhausted. This time, she was wrapped up in the story instead of being distracted by the environment.  In our world, that is a big, big victory." 

Ticket prices range from $15-$20 for single tickets, but StageOne also offers a Family Pass Membership, a flexible pass that allows families to come to any and all events in a 12-month period for one low price. "The membership a great value, and we can attend again and again without paying each time! It's the perfect option to ease into this experience without a huge financial commitment."

Upcoming Sensory Friendly Performances:
A Year With Frog and Toad
December 12, 2 pm                                                     
Recommended for all ages

And Then They Came for Me: Remembering The World of Anne Frank
February 13, 2 pm
Recommended for ages 10 and up

Harold and the Purple Crayon
March 26, 11 am
Recommended for all ages

For more information, visit   
Phone: 502-498-2436

Good Garbage is committed to protecting our public waste stream by diverting usable materials from landfills to teachers, students, crafters and artists and by promoting creative reuse programs and workshops for children and adults.

This holiday season Good Garbage has created sets of Autism Awareness Wine Glass Jewelry. These glittery sets will be available at Good Garbage's Boutique Redu for $12, with $2 supporting FEAT of Louisville. Good Garbage is located at 2216 Frankfort Ave.

Do You Have A New Year's Resolution? 
Last day to receive the race registration discount is Wednesday, December 2.

Free Preview Screening of Tribeca Film Festival Best Picture Nominee -  "Autism in Love"

for information about any of the listed dates contact Deborah at deborah@featoflouisville.org


AUTISM IN LOVE - Free Preview Screening
Thursday, December 3   6:00PM
at The Muhammad Ali Center Bond Auditorium -  144 N. 6th Street

Register to run for FEAT
Race Day: Saturday, April 30, 2016
When you register to run, you can either donate to FEAT of Louisville, join our team, or fundraise for FEAT. 

Registration Opens January 1st  
Race Day: Saturday, June 4, 2016 
Join us for our 11th Annual Outrunning Autism 5K at The Parklands of Floyds Fork. To be a sponsor or volunteer, please contact supportoflousiville.org.


Special Needs Night
Thursday, December 3    5:00PM-7:00PM
$5/hr per person
Exclusive jump time for special needs jumpers and their families!

Shape Creators
Saturday, December 12   8:30 AM-9:30AM
Inspect our shapes in the Shape & Stuff Store and make your own creation
Click here for more information

A Year with Frog and Toad
Saturday, December 12     2:00PM
It's Christmas Eve, the fire is burning and the hot chocolate is ready. Frog is late...maybe something has happened to him...TOAD TO THE RESCUE!

Special Needs Friendly Open Gym
Saturday, December 12   4:00PM-6:00PM
$5 per child. Siblings Welcome.
For more information call 502-741-1982

Sunday, December 20
Sensory Friendly Christmas Party with Santa for All FEAT Families at KAZOING!
RSVP to support@featoflousiville.org by Monday, December 14

Plan for your child's future: ABLE Act, Waiver Update, Special Needs Trusts and Guardianship
Thursday, January 14 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level
Please use meeting date + childcare as your subject title.

Puberty: Tips for Discussing Puberty with Your Special Needs Pre-Teen
Thursday, February 11 at 7:00PM
More details will be in the January & February newsletters.

Stay Connected
1100 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40206

Deborah Morton, Executive Director