Autism Society of Central Wisconsin
Who are we?
The Autism Society of Central Wisconsin (ASCW) is run by volunteers and is dedicated to improving the lives of all affected by autism in central Wisconsin. We do this by providing information and referrals, family support, advocacy, professional development, raising awareness, and resource development. The ASCW is the voice for autism in Wisconsin, advocating for individuals with autism and their families.
History of our Agency
The ASCW is an affiliate of the Autism Society of Wisconsin. The Autism Society of Wisconsin is an affiliate of the Autism Society of America, which is celebrating its 88th anniversary. The ASCW started out 20 years ago as a coffee group for individuals with autism and their families. Families felt very isolated because they were not able to do the typical activities such as go out to the movies, like other families did. The coffee group was a place for families to meet others that have a family member with autism. 12 years ago, the coffee group turned into a support group, which is when the ASCW became an affiliate of the Autism Society of Wisconsin. The ASCW brought resources to individuals with autism and their families because resources on autism were very scarce at this time. The ASCW began establishing credibility and started fundraising for different camps and events that individuals with autism could attend.
ASCW provides information and referrals for individuals and families with autism. ASCW will refer individuals to other professionals. ASCW also holds monthly support groups meetings for parents and individuals affected by autism. Many times, the support groups consist of people who were freshly diagnosed with autism and don’t know what to do. ASCW partners with other chapters and holds a 3 day statewide conference in Wisconsin Dells. We bring in national speakers for this conference to teach people about autism. This conference is open to everyone. A lot of professionals and teachers attend this conference to learn more about how to help their students. ASCW also fundraises for scholarships so that individuals affected by autism can attend conferences and camps such as Camp Awesome. This agency will also speak to schools and colleges about autism awareness.
Individuals can access any of the services that ASCW provides my phone, listserve, e-mail, and the Facebook page. Often, people will be referred to the ASCW by the state or national organization. People can also be referred by doctors as well. There are no eligibility requirements for this service. The goal of ASCW is to serve everyone, including professionals.
Our Interaction With Schools, Parents, and Youth
The ASCW does have any involvement with schools unfortunately. The reason for this is because we are a group of volunteers and don’t have credentials behind our names. As a result, we don’t get taken seriously in the schools. The ASCW provides support groups and resources for parents whose children have autism. The resources that ASCW provides parents include referrals, information on autism, and support. The ASCW holds monthly support group meetings for individuals affected by autism. There is a group called the “Awesome Social Group” that is divided up by age groups. The youth in the Awesome Social Group get together once a month and have a good time. We do things such as swimming, bowling, going out to eat, and going to the park. The fees for these activities are paid for by the ASCW. The ASCW also provides scholarships to camps such as Camp Awesome, in which individuals with autism may attend.
Our Link to the IEP/Transition Process
Our agency does not have a link to the IEP/Transition process. The reason for this is because we aren’t allowed into the schools. We provide resources such as information and support groups to individuals in the transition process.
ASCW gets its funding in two ways. The first way is through membership dues. Families can become members of ASCW for $15/year. Families are not required to become members. This is just one small way in which ASCW gets its funding. The second way is through private companies and corporations. This is where the majority of the funding comes from.
How We Are Evaluated
Our agency is evaluated by the state and national organization. The evaluation is to determine whether ASCW is following protocol.
The address of the ASCW is P.0. Box 1832, Wausau, WI, 54403. Our hours of operation are very different from other agencies. There is no office for this agency, so as a result there are no set hours of operation. ASCW is run completely by volunteers. The agency is open anytime someone calls because the volunteers list their cell phone numbers as the number to call. The geological areas served are Clark, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Price, Taylor, and Wood Counties.