Examples of what Heart of Texas Autism Network has helped provide for parents, professionals and the community include:
Advocacy training - Workshops to help parents learn to advocate successfully for their children receiving special education services in the public school system.
Annual Walk for Autism raises awareness and funds to help programs benefiting families and individuals inthe area who are affected by ASD.
Annual Holiday "Starry Night" event is a holiday party for families with activities, refreshments, and lots of fun!
Gardening activities for kids/youth on the autism spectrum: Participants interact with each other and withNature. They experience the therapeutic properties of nurturing living plants, take part in caring for Waco’s WECARE Community Garden and donate their harvest to Caritas, our local food bank (led by Texas MasterNaturalist/Master Gardener).
Coached Internship Program - assists with helping a young adult on the autism spectrum identify vocational strengths and helps to build the skills associated with those talents, to provide the adult on the spectrum with a fulfilling life of pride and functionality, giving back to the community.
First Responder autism training for area law enforcement and the community.
Meetings : potluck supper with speakers on topics relevant to autism. Past speakers have included: directors of area agencies, university professors, executive directors of area nonprofits, professional therapists,advocates, and more. Free childcare is provided, with RSVP.
Monthly Supper Clubs for kids/youth: Groups of kids, youth and young adults with autism meet at localrestaurants or other locations; in addition to having fun, they also learn independent life skills and social skills.
Networking and referral to resources, information and services: The Heart of Texas Autism Network collaborates with other organizations to provide information, resources and assistance for events,conferences, and activities ... examples of current and past collaborators include:
Arc of McLennan County
Autism Society of America, Greater Austin Chapter
Baylor Autism Resource Center
Baylor Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Baylor School of Educational Psychology
Childrens Special Needs Network
Cultural Arts of Waco
Education Service Center Region 12
Grande Communications Community Ticket Program
Heart of Texas MHMR
Partners Resource Network PATH project
Waco Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities
Waco Police Department
Speaking to organizations, etc: HOTAN members speak with groups of employers, agencies, educators, churches, civic organizations and others about autism to raise awareness and understanding.
We have talented and dedicated families and individuals who are passionate about improving the quality of life for people living with autism. We have members in the community who see the value of our contributions to society and want to help further our mission.
Most importantly, we have -- we are -- families and individuals who live with ASD. Some of us have just begun our journeys, and need a companion and guide as we find our path. Some of us are nearing the end of our own walks, and need assurance that our loved ones will continue on safely and in good company. We are here to help each other, to find hope and build a better future -- for ourselves, our children, and the wider community.
We look forward to seeing the hopes and dreams of today become tomorrow’s reality.Join with us, and help make those dreams come true!