The first Autism Awareness Walk was held in 2005 at the Oval in Plattsburgh. The community welcomed this annual event with open arms. In 2011, the founders of the Walk chose to organize into a non-profit organization, and Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY was born.
The charitable purpose of Autism Alliance of Northeastern NY is to empower individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties through support and education. The Autism Awareness Walk is the sole fundraising event for Autism Alliance of NENY. All funds raised stay within our tri-county community.
Funds raised last year were used in the following ways:
• Provided technology grants to individuals with ASD, which included iPads and software to support communication, socialization, organization, time management, etc. Also provided grants to individuals for sensory equipment, including swings, trampolines and weighted blankets, to assist with self-regulation, emotional control, attention, etc. Both of these grants also help to improve the individuals' interactions and relationships in the home and community.
• Launched a new community grant to address social and recreational opportunities for adults on the spectrum.
• Provided grants to many local schools and organizations; grant monies were used to expend inventory of sensory equipment, educational materials, and class offerings to benefit individuals with ASD.
• Offered scholarships to local students with ASD to attend college or secondary education.
• Donated many ASD-related titles to schools in the tri-county area and to the CEF Library System.
• Partnered with other local agencies at family-friendly events to promote autism awareness as well as awareness of other community resources.
• Distributed annual publication of Regional Autism Resources to assist the community with locating local resources that support individuals with ASD.
* Hosted Puppets in Education at Momot Elementary School in Plattsburgh. This troupe provides education through an inclusive model, which promotes empathy for autistic individuals by modeling, labeling, explaining, and normalizing the characteristics of autism, while never singling out any individual who may be participating in the program.