April is Autism Awareness Month

Everyone knows someone with autism

The most recent statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 59 children have autism. That staggering statistic emphasizes how important it is that the central Illinois community becomes aware of the difficulties of living with autism. Autism McLean provides imperative programming to people of all ages living with autism and families whose lives are affected by autism.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Here are local autism awareness events and fundraisers:

Local events:

Local fundraisers:

About Autism McLean

Autism McLean is an all volunteer based group that strives to educate the central Illinois area about autism and fund programs that better the lives of individuals and families of those with autism. For more information, contact [email protected].

Join us

Please view the benefits of being a member and consider joining us.

Local Housing & Autism – 2019 AFC Community Discussions 

Through its Autism Friendly Community (AFC) partnerships, Autism McLean gathered local residential providers and support services to help local families understand the services currently offered and to identify future needs. Public events focused on housing needs for people with autism were held February 19 and March 19, 2019 at the Illinois State University Alumni Center in Normal. Read a summary and related resources.

Our next event will be held 6-8 pm on May 21 at the Normal Public Library Community Room. Join us for an evening of visioning and brainstorming -- focused on future needs, dreams and goals, exploring how to meet growing housing needs in the community. Parents, caregivers, advocates and adults with autism are invited to participate: Sign up to attend.

Return of the Spider Woman - a Benefit Concert for Autism McLean

Join us at Heartland Community College's Astroth Community Education Center Auditorium.

Internationally renowned jazz cabaret icon Spider Saloff returns to the Twin Cities singing The Great American Songbook at a benefit concert for Autism McLean. Doors open at 6 pm for drinks and light noshing catered by Baxter’s American Grille, and includes one complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage AND great company! The concert program begins 7:30 pm.

Purchase tickets here!

Thanks to our generous donors, ALL ticket proceeds benefit Autism McLean.

Where: 
Heartland Community College, Astroth Community Education Center Auditorium, 1500 W Raab Rd, Normal, Illinois 61761
Date/Time: 
Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Cost: 
$20-$100

McLean County Museum of History is Autism Friendly!

Did you know that the McLean County Museum of History is Autism Friendly as well as inclusive to individuals and groups with various accomodation needs? Not only do they carry Sensory Bags (sound dampening headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and visual communication cards), they have a social story to help plan for your visit. Check out their website to see all of their upcoming events!

Intelligent Lives Film Screening

From award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib comes INTELLIGENT LIVES, a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America.

INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

INTELLIGENT LIVES challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment, and intimate relationships.

Hosted by the Autism Friendly Community partnership of Autism McLean and Marcfirst. For more information, contact Laura Furlong at Marcfirst.

Where: 
Illinois Wesleyan University Beckman Auditorium (first floor of Ames Library), 1 Ames Place E, Bloomington, IL 61701
Date/Time: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Temple Grandin to speak at ISU: "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds"

Temple Grandin, often considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world, will be the keynote speaker for Science and Technology Week 2019 at Illinois State University.

Her talk, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds,” will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Sponsored by the College of Applied Science and Technology, the talk is free and open to the public. A book signing will immediately follow the lecture.

A prolific author, Grandin’s book Emergence: Labeled Autistic stunned the world as it challenged the assumption that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life. Her life story was made into an HBO feature film starring Claire Danes. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. Grandin is sought after globally to speak about her experiences with autism, cattle handling, and the humane treatment of animals. Her TED talk has been viewed by over 4.8 million people.

She is the author of Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, among others. Her books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human were both New York Times bestsellers.

Grandin, who holds a Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, is a designer of livestock handling facilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants.

She has been featured internationally in the media including National Public Radio, major television programs such as the BBC special “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow,” ABC’s Primetime Live, The Today Show, CNN’s Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, and 20/20, and has been featured in Time, People, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and The New York Times, among others. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people.

Where: 
Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center, 200 N University St, Normal, IL 61761
Date/Time: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 7:00pm

Be a Hero day and HERO Awards

Join HEAL (Heroes Embracing Autistic Lives, Inc. - A Miskulin Family Foundation) as they host a wonderful Be a Hero Day to celebrate autism acceptance in McLean County! The event will include a balloon artist, Wild Style face painter, photo booth, carnival games, silent auction, sensory room, autism, special needs resource tables, a light meal, and 55" HD TV raffle!

  • 4:30 PM: Be a Hero day
  • 7:30 PM: HERO Awards

Visit the H.E.A.L. Foundation website or their Facebook page.

Where: 
ISU Alumni Center, 1101 South Main Street, Normal, Illinois 61761
Date/Time: 
Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 4:30pm to 8:30pm

4th Annual Accessible Easter Egg Hunt

The Aktion Club of Bloomington-Normal (a Kiwanis group for adults with disabilities) is hosting an easter egg hunt for families who have a child with a disability. Siblings and friends of children with disabilities are welcome to join in the fun.

Where: 
The Miracle League Baseball Diamond (North of the Corn Crib where the Cornbelters play)
Date/Time: 
Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 1:00pm to 1:30pm
Cost: 
Free

Autism Cafe - A social gathering for adults with autism

The Autism Cafe is a monthly activity-focused social gathering for adults living with autism. Interested attendees are welcome to gather each month for a themed social hour with other adults on the spectrum in a safe, quiet environment. Color Communication Badges will be available.

Where: 
Normal Public Library Community Room, 206 W. College Ave. Normal , IL 61761
Date/Time: 
Thursday, January 3, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, September 5, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Cost: 
Free

An Instructional Contra Dance Series

What is Contra Dancing? It has been in the USA since the 1700’s. People walk in repeating patterns to folk music. A caller first explains the movements and tells you what pattern to do.

When: Third Thursday of each month

Where: Normal Public Library (in the basement)

Time: 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Who: The whole family (you don’t have to dance – come visit too)

How is it Autism Friendly? Contra dancing is a wonderful opportunity to be around others. It is easily accommodated for people with ASD or other social/sensory issues. So you can participate without needing to talk, touch or make eye contact, unless you want to.

Do I have to bring a date? NO! But you will need a dance partner – that can be anyone on the dance floor – we are trying to have some student volunteers there to be partners, but parents, friends, and siblings can be partners too

This is a planned monthly get-together for people on the autism spectrum, their family, mentors, and friends.

More information can be found on the Normal Public Library website.

Where: 
Normal Public Library 206 W. College Ave. Normal , IL 61761
Date/Time: 
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

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