FEATure Happy New Year!
Easing in to 2016...
A Year of Change

As the whole world is welcoming in a new year, I want to take a moment and look back at 2015. This past year has brought many changes for FEAT of Louisville: I became the Executive Director, our programs saw increases in participation and new board members joined our organization. We reached more families with new resources, new friendships were made between teenagers with autism and students from Trinity High School and many kids learned to swim at All About Kids and the Home of the Innocents. Autism awareness increased in our community, families learned much needed skills at FEAT sponsored workshops and a young boy got enough courage to talk to Santa Claus at our annual Christmas party.
 
While we rejoice in these signs of progress, we cannot ignore other changes in the autism community. This past year brought sadness and grief to many, as they received an autism diagnosis for their child, and we are all troubled by the news from the CDC of yet another increase in the prevalence of autism, now affecting 1 in 45 children....change is not always good.
 
And that's where FEAT comes in, as an organization created for families by families to help ease the autism journey. I have been with FEAT for over 8 years in various capacities, and have met so many families touched by our programs, yet I know there is still much to do. In 2016 we vow to build on our past endeavors in order to continue to further our mission and to reach the ever-growing numbers of families and children in need of a brighter future.
 
So, in 2016 we ask for your continued partnership as we develop this bright future for our families. As the Swedish Proverb says, "fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours." 2016 is waiting for our story to be written...we invite you to join us on this journey!

Deborah Morton,
Executive Director


What Is Your Resolution? 
To Get In Shape? To Volunteer? To Make A Difference?

Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. If your resolution is to get in shape, volunteer or to make a difference, we can help you. 

FEAT of Louisville has many opportunities for you to get in shape and make a  difference all at the same time. With the help of Pacers & Racers, we will have you up and #Running4Autism in no time!

Pacers & Racers (3602 North Gate Court, New Albany, In) is hosting a FREE training program on Sunday, January 10, 2015 from 5:30-6:45PM. The training will be for all experience levels and will provide you with:
  • Calendar for personal & group runs
  • Training Tips & Preparation
  • Nutrition & Injury Prevention
  • Education from leading experts
CLICK HERE to RSVP to attend this FREE training program. Do not need to be registered in either running event to attend.

We have 2 events that you can train toward - The Kentucky Derby Marathon/minMarathon & Outrunning Autism 5K (early registration opens on January 9th at feat5K.com). Both events will allow you to #RUN4AUTISM, volunteer, help raise awareness and funds for FEAT.

If you would like to become a volunteer for either event, email us at support@featoflousiville.org

Local Boy Wins An iPAD from Autism Speaks

We would like to congratulate Lawrence & his family for being awarded a new iPAD Air from  the Autism Speaks iPad Air 2015 grant.

" He loves his iPad especially Siri (he likes the voice command feature). The iPad will help him so much in communication skills  and learning how to express himself appropriately well as his social skills. So blessed," said his mom. "I am super excited for him."



Play It Safe in 2016
In light of the recent heartbreaking events in Allentown, PA, we have decided to re-visit this article from our 2015 July Newsletter. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Jayliel Vega.

There are various reasons someone with autism may wander. More often than not, he/she will wander to something of interest, especially water, or away from something that is bothersome, such as uncomfortable noise or bright lights.

Half of all children with autism are prone to wandering, and their fascination with water puts them at risk for drowning. To address this danger, FEAT partners with All About Kids to provide swim lessons in hopes of imparting a life-saving skill.


GET Your FEAT Wet Swim Program 
offers one-on-one instruction with a qualified swim instructor along with an autism-trained behavior therapist.  Children are not only taught how to swim, but also learn water safety and appropriate behavior protocol for swimming in an inclusive setting. 

2016 Winter Special $10 off any new enrollment
Availability is limited. 
Please contact All About Kids  for schedules & openings:
502-809-1386


So, what precautionary measures can you take to ensure your child's safety? What tools are available if your child should wander off? According to reviews, the items below have been found to be some of the best.
 

The National Autism Association is committed to those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who may be prone to wandering off or eloping from a safe environment, and may be unable to recognize danger and/or stay safe. The Big Red Safety Box is a free-of-charge toolkit given to autism families in need as a means to educate, raise awareness and share simple tools that may assist them in preventing, and responding to, wandering-related emergencies. Learn More

 
AngelSense grew out of one father's search for the right technology to help him protect his child with special needs - and became a mission. Monitor your child's location, receive alerts on unexpected changes to their routine thru the Guardian GPS and Analytic Server via the web & mobile app. Learn More


Since 2007, Amber Alert GPS has been the leading provider of communication and location tracking products and services for active families. Our unique products are designed for easy use by children and parents to support family connectivity and child safety.  Our products incorporate award-winning GPS technology, 2-way mobile voice communications, smartphone apps, a secure online portal, and customized alerting.
Learn More
 

If I Need Help was created by the parents of an  overly energetic 13-year-old son who has moderate to severe Autism and very limited language ability.
Many children with autism who wander are unable to identify themselves, do not ask for help or carry an ID. They are usually unable to communicate their needs, share personal information and what might be done to help calm them. Also, what the rescuer should know in an emergency such as medical conditions. That's where If I Need Help comes in.

FEATure Programs
Knowledge is Power

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 meeting on the 2nd Thursday of each month.  We look forward to seeing you!

Mark your Calendar
Jan. 14: Planning for the Future: Special Needs Trust & ABLE Accounts

Feb. 11: Parenting an Adolescent with Autism: puberty, developmental stages and beyond. Presented by  Kim Dwyer-Moore, MS, BCBA & Jordan Hall, MS, BCBA, LBA

March 10: Kentuckiana Children's Center

Childcare will be provided upon request.  Please RSVP at support@featoflouisville.org. 
More about January Meeting at Home of The Innocents- 


BCA Vocational Program
Learning skills that will help children with autism in the future

FEAT of Louisville is proud to be partnered with the Bluegrass Center for Autism on a vocational program for BCA's older learners. The program was created to give young adults on the Autism Spectrum job training and workplace experience that could one day lead to long-term employment opportunities.
 
Prior to volunteering at a business, the students work on skills and tasks in the vocational room. This room is strictly devoted to teaching young adults step by step tasks such as putting together sprinkler heads or tagging and hanging clothes, as well as appropriate social skills at a workplace.

Once they are ready, each student will be placed in a volunteer position at a local business. A job coach accompanies them on their assignments to ensure each placement provides meaningful experience and a mutual benefit to everyone involved.

I nitially, learners were placed with fellow tenants at the MidCity Mall, where BCA's Upper School is located. These include the Highlands branch of the Louisville Public Library, Jim Cain's Fitness, the Movies & More Swap Shop and Nearly New Consignment Shop . In fact, BCA students have been given charge of the children's section at the Nearly New Consignment Shop.
 
This past semester the vocational program has expanded to include off-site locations, such as Eco-Cell, where participants work on recycling cell phones, and Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, where they break down donated plumbing and other materials. 

F EAT of Louisville is very proud to be able to help support this very important program through grants and funds raised throughout the year. The future of tomorrow begins today.










FEATure Your Opinion
We're here for YOU

We Want Your Feedback
We would look forward to your input about our parent meetings. 

What topics would you like covered at a meeting? What can we do to help you?

Take a moment to respond to us on this one question survey.   Survey

 

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

Lucky's Market
Bags for Change
Thanks to everyone who brings in reusable bags to Lucky's Market! The dimes you donate go to make an important impact in our community! 

FEAT like to thank all of you that donated your "wooden dime" to us during the 3rd Quarter, Lucky's Market: Bags for Change and a huge amount of gratitude to  Lucky's Market for generously matching all of your donations.

Together we raised $972.86 for FEAT of Louisville. 


It Is All Because of You

FEAT would like to take a moment to thank everyone that made a donation of time or funds to FEAT in 2015. 

Simply put, if it wasn't for faithful supporters like you, we wouldn't exist. So thank you for making a difference in the lives of families affected by autism right here in our own city.

Thanks to your generosity, we are able to grow our existing services & programs as well as continue to search for other ways to help ease the autism journey.


FEATure In The Community
Bringing Awareness & Acceptance to Kentuckiana
Kentucky Science Center
No Limits Family Camp

Kentucky Science Center is thrilled to introduce a new line of family camps designed for families who have children with special needs. No Limits Family Camps enable children with special needs of any range to engage in interactive and hands-on science. During the program, families can participate with their child to explore new and stimulating opportunities. There are different themes for these camps which range from sensory exploration and dinosaurs to recipes and color. Kentucky Science Center Educators work with a vast array of abilities and the camp is designed to benefit each individual child. Our goal is for every child to feel confident in science while gaining knowledge and self-assurance




Come and Meet Your Favorite Mascot
Friday January 15, 2016 at Trinity High School -  Steinhauser Gymnasium

During 2015, the League ʼ s members have performed at over 100 events, assisted over 70 schools, organizations and community groups and donated over 900 mascot hours in Kentuckiana! 

FEAT has been fortunate to have many of the mascots at our Outrunning Autism 5K event and RevNRoll for Autism. We honored to have been selected as one of the League of Mascots' 2016 partner charities.

25 mascots will be knighted into the League of Mascots.  After the knighting ceremony, families can  join the mascots for a "Dance Party" under the musical
direction of WAY-FM Radio, and picture opportunities with your family's favorite mascot

A few of the Squire Mascots which are eligible for knighthood:
  • King Jumper -- Louisville Inflatables
  • Big Cow -- Chick-fil-A St, Matthews & Springhurst
  • Kid Cow -- Chick-fil-A St, Matthews & Springhurst
  • Bellarmine Knight -- Bellarmine University
  • Blazinʼ Bill (the Buffalo) -- Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Dot -- WAY-FM Radio
  • Dunkinʼ Donut -- Dunkinʼ Donuts
  • Lucy the Elephant -- Kool Smiles Dentistry
  • Nitro the Polar Bear -- Arctic Scoop
  • Ms. Que -- Shack in the Back BBQ
  • Quacky -- Harbor House of Louisville
  • Subman -- Subway
Come join us at this family-friendly event and to support FEAT. 
Doors open at 6:30
Knighting Ceremony at 7:15
Dance immediately after

We have a limited number of FREE tickets!
RSVP support@featoflouisville.org please include your name, # of tickets, and your address




Tickets are required for entry and donations are accepted.
All donations will help the League assist schools and charities during 2016.


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

COMMUNITY

KENTUCKY DERBY FESTIVAL MARATHON/miniMARATHON
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. 


2016 FEAT OUTRUNNING AUTISM 5K 
Registration Opens January 9th at www.feat5K.com
Race Day: Saturday, June 4, 2016 
Join us for our 11th Annual Outrunning Autism 5K at The Parklands of Floyds Fork. 



PACERS & RACERS FREE RUNNING TRAINING PROGRAM
Sunday, January 10 at Pacers & Racers
FEAT and Pacers & Racers will host a free training program for all running experience levels at Pacers & Racers - 3602 North Gate Court, New Albany, IN 47150 - do not need to be registered in either running event to attend




League of Mascots Knighting Ceremony & Dance
Friday, January 15th at 6:30 PM 
Trinity High School - Steinhauser Gymnasium
FREE tickets available




Cody Clark: A Different Way of Thinking 
Friday, February 12th  at 8 PM - The Alley Theater
Louisville based professional magician Cody Clark performs his one-man show.   In his show, Cody uses the arts of magic, theatre, and storytelling to share with audiences how having autism has shaped his life experiences. 

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.thealleytheater.com or at the door. 
The Alley Theater - 633 W. Main Street in downtown Louisville.





PARENTS 

PARENT MEETING 
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


PARENT MEETING
Parenting an Adolescent with Autism: puberty, developmental stages and beyond
Thursday, February 11 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level


PARENT MEETING
Kentuckian Children's Center
Thursday, March 10 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level


Stay Connected
1100 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40206
502-596-1258


Deborah Morton, Executive Director