GRants for Autism Advocacy & Support

In 2017,  the Philadelphia Autism Project announced the release of GRants for Autism Advocacy and Support (GRAAS). GRAAS funded the creation of self-advocacy and/or support  groups in Philadelphia,  as well as existing groups, in making them stronger or able to reach out to more people. The goal of GRAAS is to support individuals with autism and their families, including siblings, in starting or strengthening self-advocacy and/or peer support groups for individuals living in Philadelphia.  For more information please contact phillyap@drexel.edu. 

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GRAAS Contacts

AWARD RECIPIENTS 

Below is a list of the GRAAS recipients and a description of the groups they are creating or expanding! Contact information may be listed for some groups; please feel free to contact those individuals if you are interested in learning more about the group and/or want to get involved.

Asperigirls

Asperigirls group seeks to provide a safe space for individuals on the spectrum in the Philadelphia area to meet, offer support to one another, and discuss ideas related to the experience of life on the spectrum. The group is for young adults ages 17-39 across the spectrum (encompassing all levels of ability) and focuses on self-advocacy, peer support, disability justice, and access to support services for individuals and families with autism in underserved/minority populations in Philadelphia.

Contact: Alice Koumenis Email: Akoumenis@gmail.com

Au-Some Lives

Au-Some Lives group will serve teenagers and young adults on the spectrum by providing support, sharing resources and opportunities with their peers.  In addition to providing support by sharing resources and having experts in the field come out and connect with group members, Au-Some Lives plan to provide peer engagement and vocational development opportunities.  

Contact: Afea Tucker Email:  ausomelives215@gmail.com

The Challenge Club

The Challenge Club (name may be changing) is a support group committed to bringing together teens and tweens on the spectrum in a welcoming environment with the objective of developing greater social skills, fostering friendships, and building a peer network. This will involve activities that encourage cooperation, interaction, and discussion around common interests.

Contact: John Crimsons Address: Children’s Librarian, Free Library of Philadelphia, Fumo Family Branch Library Phone: (215) 685-1758 Email: crimminsj@freelibrary.org

Jaden's Voice Support Group

Jaden’s Voice Support Group for parents and caregivers of individuals with autism.  The goal of the group will be to inform, educate, and empower parents and caregivers with tools, resources, and services to become better advocates for their loved ones with autism.  

Contact: Charo Jackson Email: charo@jadensvoice.org Local Office: 267-223-6590 Main Office: 800-825-8950

Liberty Resources and Vision for Equality 

Liberty Resources and Vision for Equality (group to be named later) in collaboration with Bill Krebs will create a cross disability support and self-advocacy group for individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities.  The goals of the group will be driven by its members and will provide a forum to discuss and share experiences, resources, and promote self-advocacy. 

Contact: Bill Krebs Email: mr.trouble64@yahoo.com

Peace of Mind Social Services

Peace of Mind Social Services is an advocacy group for parents and caregivers who are recently informed of their child’s diagnosis.  The group will educate parents and caregivers on how to access and advocate for resources and programs for their child’s needs. Additional goals of the group include supporting transition age youth into adulthood through social opportunities.   

Contact: Tisa Coleman Address: P.O. Box 30271 Elkins Park, PA 19027
Phone: 267-496-4866 Email: Helpinghand@pomss.org Website: Peaceofmind-socialservice.squarespace.com

Pennsylvania Sibling Support Network

Pennsylvania Sibling Support Network will expand their existing support groups which provide resources, training and advocacy support to individuals, siblings, parents, caregivers and family members.

Contact: Lynne Mack Email: elynn627@yahoo.com

Project Elijah Empowering Autism

Project Elijah Empowering Autism will build upon their existing group, which provides weekly activities that all families can take part in, including parent support meetings and trainings.

Contact: Eric Williams Email:  elijah@peea.org

Refugee Autism Support Group

Refugee Autism Support Group will focus on creating a forum to address the needs, education and advocacy for families of children with autism from the Burmese and Bhutanese communities. Led by a community leader, this group’s goals are to provide support to community members through discussion around education, behavior management, advocacy/access to services, reduction of stigma, and increased communication between parents.

Contact: Melissa Fogg Email: melissa.fogg@muralarts.org

Self-Advocacy Group

Self-Advocacy Group (group to be named later) facilitated by Dylan Moody is committed to serving young adults on the autism spectrum through resource sharing and social activities. The group will invite speakers to talk about employment, housing, volunteer work, or other resources.

Contact: Dylan Moody Email: coldsummer91@gmail.com

Social Xchanges

Social Xchanges is a support group serves college students with autism who attend Temple University. The group participants meet weekly to provide peer support and social engagement, including a discussion of a social learning topic and a recreational activity.

Contact:  Aaron Spector Email: spectora@temple.edu

The Southwest Child Guidance Family Support Group

The Southwest Child Guidance Family Support Group will expand services currently provided for parents and caregivers of children with autism at Southwest Child Guidance Resource Center. The group holds meetings on the first Thursday of each month and the discussions include topics of community resources, events, and advocacy in the educational system.  

Contact: Shari Sims Email: ssims@cgrc.org

Spectrum Success 911

Spectrum Success 911 will host a group that will meet twice a month and allow parents to openly and honestly express their feelings and experiences after finding out their child has autism.  The group will also educate families about therapeutic games they can use to support their family.   

Contact: Khylil Robinson and Michele Abraham Montgomery Email:  spectrumsuccess911@gmail.com

Supporting Families and Professionals through Communication for Autism and Special Needs

Supporting Families and Professionals through Communication for Autism and Special Needs will create a group to bridge the gap between families and professionals by inviting both to share their experiences and expertise.  The group will help families and providers be heard by providing an open dialogue to get many answers to questions answered and assist providers in learning more about how to approach families, especially for medically involved children.  

Contact: Joan Nelson, Northeast Support Group Navigated by Families Phone: 267-642-1321  Email:  spectrumsuccess911@gmail.com

#wearethriving

#wearethriving will be a peer support/advocacy group for students with autism ages 11 – 21 who attend the MYA Middle School and Parkway West High School. The group’s objectives include providing a supportive environment to help in the development of resiliency skills, providing social training, determining shared interests, community integration, transition opportunities, and opportunities for parents to receive training and insight to services.  

Contact: Ivey Welshans Email: iwelshans@philasd.org

West Philadelphia Parents for Autism Children Sensory Social Supports 

West Philadelphia Parents for Autism Children Sensory Social Supports (PACSSS) is a monthly group for parents and caregivers of teens and young adults with autism, who are dealing with transitioning and advocacy. The group seeks to inform parents and young adults on how to navigate the system and learn what is available to them. It will also be a safe place to share information and meet other families.

Contact: Roberta Bellamy Email: westphilapacs@gmail.com