Our first years were busy with developing a committed board, filing articles of incorporation, by laws, obtaining non-profit status, developing materials, a web presence and fundraising.
One of our most successful initiatives has been the first rendition of the police and first responder safety initiative developed by members of the Mid-Michigan Autism Association (MMAA) board, inspired by the work of Dennis Dubaudt. Recognizing the huge need for information around the State of Michigan, we passed the program on to the Autism Alliance of Michigan. Our own officer, Scott Scheulke has been traveling around Michigan working with law enforcement, first responders, EMT, fire fighters, and parks and recreation staff increasing their understanding of autism and intellectual disability and how to best assist families in times of crisis, or elopement.
We identified a need for ASD trained summer day care options with in the community. MMAA developed an educational program in collaboration with CEI-CMH and the YMCA’s of Greater Lansing to train summer camp counselors in the basics of autism. This has improved access to quality summer programing for many working families with children on the spectrum.
The Mid-Michigan Autism Association has created new events within the community and works to partner with other area organizations to provide new opportunities for area families. Over the last few years, the organization has collaborated with the 4th Wall (a theatre program for individuals with special needs) and the Special Olympics and worked with local organizations to create social opportunities for families, including discounted evenings at Jumpin’ Jax, swimming at Goldfish Swim School, outings to Lansing Lugnuts baseball games, hosting Sensory Show Times at Celebration Cinema and the very popular music events at the Michigan State University Community Music School.
We are very proud to have supported the development of a sister non-profit, Lansing Intentional Communities (LINCS) that is focusing on development and education about local resources for transition age students and adults with disabilities.
Perhaps, most importantly, we have agreed to raise our hand and function as a lightning rod, to attract and distribute information to families, professionals and individuals regarding best practices, education, social events, service, and research opportunities for those affected by developmental disability. We continue to improve those services with our website, newsletter and Facebook page heading into our 2017-2018 service year.