Three Reasons to Connect With the Greater Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin

Are you looking for a place to help you find autism-related resources? Looking for quality education and training about autism and related topics? Are you looking for support from someone who has been down a similar path? The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin and our local network of affiliates might be what you’re looking for.

The main purpose of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin is to offer a community for those who are committed to increasing the quality of life for people with autism and their families. Our local network in Greater Wisconsin makes us unique and allows us to provide direct support in local communities while staying connected at a state and national level. Our mission and vision are specific enough to give us focus while being broad enough to give us flexibility to shift our programs to meet growing needs. Our network is powered by a broad base of volunteers with varying experiences and expertise. 

Here are three reasons to connect with the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin:

  1. We Offer Community: a Welcoming Place of Belonging and Acceptance

All of us look for a place where we feel welcomed, understood, and accepted; a place where we belong. Being part of a community that accepts and celebrates you, as you are, can play a big role in your mental health and overall well-being. The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin is made up of a group of people that understand the wide range of experiences of people with autism and their families, and offers a place of nonjudgmental connection, and support. Across our affiliate network, we have groups for autistic teens & adults, groups for parents, and events for families. In 2020, almost all these groups have shifted to a virtual setting which makes them even more accessible! If you or someone you’re working with could benefit from connecting with others, please check out our groups and events! 

  1. We Offer Quality Autism-Related Education and Training

The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin’s educational programming reaches over 1,500 people annually. We’re proud of the quality, cutting-edge information, and the nationally recognized speakers featured at our conferences and workshops each year. From our 3-day annual conference in the spring, to Autism 101 workshops, to trainings for community organizations and first responders, we are committed to raising awareness of autism, and most importantly, increasing acceptance & understanding. Our educational programming aims to provide timely information and strategies for supporting children and adults with autism. We also aim to shape the way people think about autism and disability, moving from a deficit model to the more strengths-based social model that focuses on changing the systems of support, rather than changing the person. 

  1. There’s a Place for Everyone

If you have a social work background, you are probably familiar with the systems theory or approach. As a very basic explanation, the systems approach acknowledges that people are part of many different systems that all influence their well-being, behavior, and experiences. Changes in just one part of the system, can affect how the whole system functions. Which means to impact one person’s life, we need to look at the systems around them. The services and supports available to a person will have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life, in addition to their family structure, the quality of the small interactions throughout their day, etc. We take a similar approach at the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin. We know that to increase access to a quality of life for those with autism, we need to improve the systems that people with autism interact with. This is why we have programs for autistic children and adults, their families, schools, employers, communities, etc. The better our schools are supporting those with autism, the better life will be for students with autism at school and beyond. The more employers know, the more they can accommodate and support a neurodiverse workforce to be successful. The more the public understands people with autism and the importance of neurodiversity, the less stigma and discrimination people with autism and their families will face, and so on. With so many systems to affect, we need all perspectives and representation from a diverse range of backgrounds! 

There are other reasons to connect and many specific program offerings that I didn’t mention here. So please, take some time to browse our website and reach out with any questions. I’m always excited to talk about the Autism Society, our vision, and how we’re making an impact on the quality of life for people with autism and their families. Here are 5 ways to connect and get involved:

  1. Like us or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  2. Connect with others in the Autism Society community by joining a virtual group or our Facebook group.
  3. Volunteer! Do you have experience or expertise to share? We’d love to hear from you. We’re always looking for blog writers, speakers, or group facilitators. 
  4. Do you want to support our mission and vision but don’t have time to spare? Donate to support our programs and services! As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of our community to fund our services. Every donation has a huge impact! 

Interested in learning more? Visit our website or contact our Executive Director, Kirsten Cooper.

Kirsten Cooper, MSW, Executive Director, Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin

Kirsten has led the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin as the Executive Director since 2011. Prior to her position at the ASGW, she worked with the Regional Centers for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs on a statewide grant designed to strengthen the state’s infrastructure to improve services for children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Kirsten received her bachelor of science degree in communicative disorders from UW – Madison and her MSW from UW- Oshkosh. She has worked with individuals and families affected by autism through direct services and systems change work for more than 15 years.