SEPTEMBER 2018 | ISSUE 133
Building Tomorrow

On September 12, nearly 500 supporters of Arizona Autism United joined together for our 7th annual Caring Hearts Luncheon. The theme was "Growing Together." Those in attendance heard the powerful stories of several remarkable mothers detailing their own unique and personal autism journey. Our CEO, Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin also shared AZA United's plan for expansion, starting with a "Big New Center" in the East Valley!
 
Jennifer Zoltz revealed her family's story of relocating out of state, only to come back to Arizona due to the lack of services available. Jennifer shared, "We have always been huge supporters of AZA because of the phenomenal work they do, and the results we've seen in our daughter have been priceless.  They have been the key element of our therapy and without them; we were lost and felt completely alone. I cannot express to you the feeling of relief to be back!  It may sound cliché, but you really don't know what you've got until it's gone."
 
Kori Sprintz, our 2018 Luncheon Chairperson, shared her family's personal story. She is the  mother of two boys, opposites of one another and each diagnosed with autism. Kori disclosed, "AZA United's early intervention program was the bread and butter responsible for a lot of our boys' progress... We owe so much to this organization for what they have done for us, and we want other families in need to be able to experience the same successes that we have.  There are a lot of agencies in the valley that provide services for autism, but speaking from experience, AZA United is the gold standard."
 
And what about that big new center? As Aaron revealed, "We are dreaming big, but it's no longer just a dream- it's time for action. We are setting a goal to open our doors to the Big New Center in 2019." Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon about these expansion plans!
 
With 87% of each donation going directly toward services for families in need, AZA United is confident that we can reach our goal of expansion and continue our mission of helping as many families as possible with individualized supports.   Watch this year's inspiring video of our children's progress by clicking here. 

If you were unable to attend but would like to support AZA United's expansion efforts, click here to make a secure online donation.
 
Photos of the event, courtesy of Jacada Photography, are also available by clicking here.  Thanks to everyone who supported this year's event, our best one yet!

Gratitude for Companies with Caring Hearts

We would like to recognize each of our sponsors that contributed to our 2018 Caring Hearts Luncheon. We are beyond grateful to these companies which are investing in the lives of local families living with autism!
Design Works Gaming was this year's Elite Sponsor. Design Works Gaming creates unique, engaging and highly original casino, internet, mobile and social gaming products that command players' attentions and sustain their enjoyment levels.  Thank you to the owners of DWG, Troy and Jamey Zurawski!
Mercy Care is a not-for-profit health plan offering integrated care to children, adults and seniors eligible for AHCCCS benefits.
Colliers International is a top tier global real estate services and investment management company with skilled professionals operating in 69 countries.
BMO Harris Bank is a trusted financial institution to help meet all banking needs. This is the third year that BMO Harris Bank has sponsored our Caring Hearts Luncheon.  
Southwestern Provider Services state of the art technologies allows their clients to find substantial reductions in the time between claim submission and claim payment. SPSI has sponsored our luncheon for 3 years. 
Autism-Products.com is AZA's favorite online store with a large selection of products designed to help meet a variety of sensory needs. Autism Products.com has been a long-time supporter of our community luncheon and AZA United's mission in various capacities.
Mutual of America provides group and individual variable annuity contracts and related services for the pension, retirement, and long-range savings needs of various organizations and their employees.  
Lovitt & Touché is one of the largest independent insurance brokerages in the United States, with nearly 200 employees in three offices and over $400 million in total premiums - Lovitt & Touché has the experienced personnel and financial strength to solve your insurance problems all over the world.
Optum delivers solutions to help modernize the health system and improve population health. 
Concepto Grafico A local print-shop family owned and operated. They have been a supporter of our organization for several years. We enjoy working with their professional staff who has years of experience and expertise in the print industry.
Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia is an intimate oasis inspired by the exotic locale of Spain's Andalusia region. A beautiful venue for our luncheon!  
The Mais family is a continued sponsor of AZA United. Amy Mais is a former member of AZA United's Board of Directors.
Thank you to all our 2018 Caring Hearts Luncheon Sponsors!
 
Tips for a Successful Halloween

Amanda McKinney, Habilitation
Field Trainer & Olivia Fryer, Outreach Coordinator
 
Halloween can be a bit tricky for individuals on the spectrum. It's the one night of the year where it's okay to talk to strangers and take candy from strangers, and we ring people's door bells but don't go inside! There are many things to consider when it comes to having a successful Halloween, and preparation is key. Here are a few of our favorite tips:

Visual stories and videos
Watching social stories and videos can help on the front end of prepping to portray Halloween expectations. Create your own visual schedule with expectations of the night for the child to see and follow during the event.

Costumes
Many individuals on the spectrum have sensory issues with costumes (wigs, make up, and scratchy outfits). Make sure your child is willing and comfortable wearing their costume prior to the big day. Consider allowing the child to wear their costume around a couple nights before. If they aren't taking well to the costume, perhaps try a simple pumpkin t-shirt or pajamas that they would be comfortable in.

Practice makes progress, not perfection
Practice the steps of trick or treating as much as possible prior to the night. You could talk to a few surrounding neighbors and see if they would be willing to let your child come up to their door to practice. Or even try in your own home! Close all the doors and get siblings or friends involved in the process. Knocking, saying trick or treat, receiving the candy, waving bye or saying thank you, and walking away.
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Announcements

We're hiring! 

Visit our website to learn about our various employment opportunities.

Join Team AZA today!
 


 Upcoming Events

Join us for our final Sibshops event of the year on Saturday, October 6th! The event will take place from 10am to noon at the offices of AZA United. Sibshops are intended for sibs 7-14 years old. Registration is required.

For more information contact  familyoutreach@azaunited.org
or call (480) 302-5152 
Link of the Month

Approximately 63% of children with autism have been bullied. See how you can help your child by using this brochure from the National Autism Association about Autism and Bullying: Tips for Prevention.

Read the brochure here
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Arizona Autism United | info@azaunited.org | 602.773.5773 | azaunited.org