A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Volunteering for Autism

By Guest Blogger, Nicole Lindstrom

Volunteering for Autism,

is great for my soul.

I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer for

an Autism Foundation

that is near and dear to my family’s heart………

ACT Today! and the Eddie Guardardo Foundation.

The Star’s and Strike’s Event

It brought together,

families affected by Autism as well as numerous

celebrities, sponsors, and volunteers

{I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing parents and therapists}.

The event’s purpose was to raise money for

children living with Autism whom are

in need of care and treatment.

The Star’s and Strike’s event was attended by over

four hundred guests…

a fantastic and positive turn out.

Eddie Guardardo’s youngest daughter was

diagnosed with Autism at a young age.

His family created the idea of bringing together his

friends and baseball connections to help raise

the awareness of Autism.

Athletes from Jered Weaver (Angel’s player) to

Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Duck’s) graciously donated

towards the silent auction items, as well as,

signed bowling jersey’s that they wore at the event.

It was humbling to be a witness to this generous atmosphere.

The items auctioned ranged from Baseball tickets to

the purchasing of IPad’s for children whom

are speech delayed due to Autism.

All proceeds benefiting ACT Today!.

I was blessed to take part in the silent auction.

I helped in assisting the winning bidders.

The first and only bidder I helped,

showed the true spirit of philanthropy.

George Moisbarger (Chief Squib)

from the Charitable Foundation:

Squid and Squash,

said he had heard of the event last year

and had the high-mindedness to contribute

anyway he could towards helping

children with Autism.

George felt that if one is able to donate

the time or the money to a charity

they find endearing…. then that

is truly living a life fulfilled.

I don’t know if it was the fact that we

have experienced our ups and downs with

Autism Spectrum Disorder or

George’s kind words, but

I felt leveled by the moment.

I wish that there were more people

on earth like this man.

George and his Squid and Squash Foundation

helped to make it possible for those in need this

past Sunday Night.

All for the hope to cure and help

those with Autism.

I know I have my hopeful reminder…

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Silence Your Inner Bully

By Susan Cross
Lifestyle Editor, Shape Magazine
Autism Advocate

As a lifestyle editor, I talk a lot about fulfilling dreams. What I know about the subject I learned first-hand because for years I didn’t pursue any of my own dreams. Whenever I even thought about going for it, no matter what the “it” was, the voice of some unknown heckler would pop into my head with what seemed an endless supply of criticisms.

When I wanted to write a book, the voice said, “You’ve never written anything longer than 10 pages. What makes you think you can write a book?” When I wanted to pursue acting, the voice said, “You think you’re going to land a role over someone who’s trained for years?” When I wanted to try out for a musical at the community theater, the voice said, “You’d better stick to singing in the shower.”

That bully may have taken up permanent residence between my dreams and me if I hadn’t figured out that the bully...was me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

ACT Today! Partners with Ventura County, California Community Leaders in Effort to Raise Autism Awareness and Support

ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism, is building support systems across the country to help families of children with autism access resources, care and treatment. ACT Today! kicked off the grassroots initiative in December at a private residence with an introductory meeting in Ventura County. The meeting saw 75 area residents in attendance and raised nearly $10,000. 
Mrs. Roberta Baptiste speaks during the meeting.
ACT Board member Dr. Eunice Viola (left) and Mrs. Virginia Viola (right)
The meeting was co-hosted by Mrs. Virginia Viola and Mrs. Roberta Baptiste and co-chaired by ACT Today!’s board members Dr. Eunice Viola, Mr. Shawn Carson and Mr. Greg Anderson. 

ACT Executive Director Nancy Jackson ACT Boardmember Greg Anderson,
Ventura Deputy Mayor Cheryl Heitmann
“We want to infiltrate communities like Ventura County and provide information that can help the families become more empowered,” says ACT Today! board member Greg Anderson. “As a Ventura County resident, I know firsthand that the need is here, and across the country. If ACT Today! can provide insight to parents and caregivers of children with autism, then they will be able to take the next step which is identifying and getting the care and treatment their children need to reach their highest potential.”

Funds raised through the meeting will allow ACT Today! to provide direct help to children with autism, including grants for  therapy, medical care, assistive technology, tuition to special needs schools, special needs camp, assistance dogs, assistance for military families of children with autism, social skills programs, and safety equipment (i.e. helmets and fencing). 

Dora Ortiz and her son Dustin, an ACT Today! grant recipient, attended the meeting and told the audience how she had learned of the organization and how Dustin is now able to communicate more effectively with the iPad he received through the grant. 

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder,” says Deputy Mayor of Ventura Cheryl Heitmann, who spoke at the meeting. “Access to care and treatment is vital and grassroots meetings like these are necessary for families to learn how to take the necessary steps for getting their child assessed and treated.”

Studies show autism is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood AIDS combined. 

For more information about autism, resources and ACT Today!, visit www.act-today.org.  

To host an ACT Today! meeting in your community, contact info@act-today.org.

About ACT Today!:
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and funding to families of children with autism who cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit: www.act-today.org.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Be Inspired!

Be inspired, like I was this morning, by taking the time to read a small part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 's Letter From Birmingham City Jail: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=100

Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 16, 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen,

While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas … But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every Southern state with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some 85 affiliate organizations all across the South … Several months ago our local affiliate here in Birmingham invited us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: 1) collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive; 2) negotiation; 3) self-purification; and 4) direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham … Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of the country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievable facts. On the basis of these conditions Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then came the opportunity last September to talk with some of the leaders of the economic community. In these negotiating sessions certain promises were made by the merchants—such as the promise to remove the humiliating racial signs from the stores. On the basis of these promises Reverend Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to call a moratorium on any type of demonstrations. As the weeks and months unfolded we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. The signs remained. As in so many experiences in the past, we were confronted with blasted hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon us. So we had no alternative except that of preparing for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and national community. We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved. So we decided to go through the process of self-purification. We started having workshops on nonviolence and repeatedly asked ourselves the questions, "are you able to accept the blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?"

You may well ask, "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, etc.? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was "well timed," according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "wait" has almost always meant "never." It has been a tranquilizing Thalidomide, relieving the emotional stress for a moment, only to give birth to an ill-formed infant of frustration. We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.

I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see the tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking in agonizing pathos: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?" when you take a cross country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" men and "colored" when your first name becomes "nigger" and your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title of "Mrs." when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White citizens' "Councilor" or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direst action" who paternistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

You spoke of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I started thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency made up of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, have been so completely drained of self-respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation, and a few Negroes in the middle class who, because of a degree of academic and economic security, and at points they profit from segregation, have unconsciously become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred and comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up over the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. This movement is nourished by the contemporary frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination. It is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man in an incurable "devil."

The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations. He has to get them out. So let him march sometime; let him have his prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; understand why he must have sit-ins and freedom rides. If his repressed emotions do not come out in these nonviolent ways, they will come out in ominous expressions of violence. This is not a threat; it is a fact of history. So I have not said to my people, "Get rid of your discontent." But I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action.

In spite of my shattered dreams of the past, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership in the community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, serve as the channel through which our just grievances could get to the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother. In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard so many ministers say, "Those are social issues with which the Gospel has no real concern," and I have watched so many churches commit themselves to a completely other-worldly religion which made a strange distinction between body and soul, the sacred and the secular.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader, but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all of their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

M. L. King, Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pledge to Serve Today!

Dear ACT Today! Supporter--

President Obama has declared tomorrow, January 19th, as the National Day of Service.

In his own words, the president has said, "It's a day to put politics aside, give back to our communities, and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by following his example. If we want to bring about change, it has to start with us, person by person and block by block."

Here are some ways you can help ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) help serve families who cannot access or afford the treatment their children need:

I agree with our President. We should not wait on politicians or Washington. When individuals like you and me take responsibility for one another and our communities, change can happen.

Let's start 2013 off by being the change we wish to see in the world!

Gratefully Yours,
Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson
Executive Director
ACT Today!

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to List Your Way to a Dream Life

By Susan Cross, Shape Magazine

ACT Today! supporter Susan Cross just wrote a great article called. "How to List Your Way to a Dream Life." It's published in Shape Magazine.

Here's an insert and click the link below to read the entire article.

If you follow this blog and read my "Cross Talk" column in SHAPE magazine, you know that I completely transformed my life by listing. I woke up in a panic one day, realizing I was closer to 40 than 30 and hadn’t done much about fulfilling my dreams. So I wrote them down.

I made a list of things I’d always wanted to do but hadn’t and set out on a mission to check them all off before my big 4-0.

Conquering challenges such as traveling alone, taking a surfing lesson, and flying on the trapeze turned my life from average to adventurous. I had some amazing experiences and learned a lot about myself along the way—and it all started with a list.

READ MORE - click here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ACT Today! is Off to a Running Start Announcing ONEHOPE Wine as Title Sponsor for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk & Family Festival

ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism, announces ONEHOPE Wine is the Title Sponsor of its 3rd Annual ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk and Family Festival. The event will be held on April 6, 2013 from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Tecolote Shores by Mission Bay in San Diego, California.

ONEHOPE Wine is considered one of the most recognizable cause brands in the United States of America. The charitable company has grown rapidly over the past five years due to a respected and positive presence in all charitable fields. Through the ONEHOPE Foundation, ONEHOPE Wine donates half of its profits to partner charities benefiting a variety of causes, including the military and autism. .

"ONEHOPE Wine recognizes that April is National Autism Awareness Month and the Month of the Military Child. We are honored to highlight our support at this community event year after year and encourage the community to come out and join us for this worthy cause," says Tom Leahy, Founder and President of ONEHOPE Wine. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making ASD more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood AIDS combined. Military families impacted with autism face unique challenges as a result of frequent deployments and change of duty stations in addition to a complex healthcare system. 

The ONEHOPE ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk and Family Festival is a community event which raises money to support military children impacted with autism.  The event features a flat and scenic course. All participants are treated to morning coffee, tea or hot cocoa and a beer or glass of ONEHOPE Wine in our beer and wine garden.  The family festival is free for the entire community and will include live entertainment, vendor booths, a designated kids zone with inflatables, carnival games and prizes. 

Registration for the ATMF 5k/10k Run and 1-mile fun run is now open. To register as an individual or team, visit www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.kintera.org.

The following corporations join ONEHOPE Wine as sponsors of the 3rd Annual ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k Run/Walk and Family Festival (as of January 7): Jersey Mike’s Subs, SeaWorld San Diego, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, NBC 7 San Diego, Sports Authority, and AmeriFirst Financial, Inc. 

About ACT Today!:
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and funding to families of children with autism who cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit: www.act-today.org.

About ACT Today! for Military Families:
ACT Today! for Military Families (ATMF), is a national program of ACT Today!. It was launched in July 2010. ATMF works to improve awareness and delivery of effective autism services, and provides financial assistance to military families to help defray out-of-pocket costs associated with autism treatments, services, and other quality of life programs. For more information about ACT Today! for Military Families, visit: www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org.

About ONEHOPE Inc.: 
ONEHOPE Inc. is a social enterprise that integrates causes and impact into every business it touches. ONEHOPE has been able to expand their business and foundation due to their success with their cornerstone product ONEHOPE Wine, of which half of the profits go to a different cause for each varietal of wine sold. Since launching into the wine industry 5 years ago, ONEHOPE has developed additional products, brands and platforms including - Hope at Home™, ONEHOPE Weddings, Craft1933, and their newest addition - ONEHOPE Coffee and Tea. ONEHOPE Inc. is headquartered in Southern California and has formed partnerships with notable nonprofits that support many distinct causes. Some of the causes and organizations include breast cancer prevention and treatment (National Breast Cancer Foundation), pediatric AIDS prevention and treatment (Keep A Child Alive), Autism research and treatment (ACT Today!), US forest preservation and protection (American Forests), and ending childhood hunger (Share Our Strength).ONEHOPE Inc. not only produces its own cause-centric products and services, it is also the creator and leading provider of consulting services for companies small to large on Cause-Centric Commerce. For more information, please visit www.onehopewine.com and follow us@ONEHOPEWine

Monday, January 7, 2013

Free Autism Screenings for Florida Families

Families in Florida - Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, in partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities(r) of Southwest Florida, offers a free monthly autism spectrum disorder screening for toddlers 18 months to five years of age.

The next screening will be held Jan. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McDonald's at Gulf Coast Town Center, 17800 Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, Estero.

Read more (and pass it on) - http://www.fox4now.com/news/local/185868121.html

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stars and Strikes!

By Guest Blogger Nicole Lindstrom

ACT Today!

{Stands for Autism Care and Treatment Today}
This is an amazing national non-profit foundation that
 raises money to provide resources for
families with children on the Autism Spectrum.
I have been lucky enough to share my experience with Autism with their readers.
It has been a wonderful and positive outlet.
Annually, they have a few events
to raise money for their foundation
in order to continue to support those in need of
these resources.
Their big event is around the corner,
and it is supported by a wonderful family that
has experienced Autism first-hand.
Eddie Guardado {Major League All Star Pitcher} and his wife Lisa,
help to support this event, as their daughter has been diagnosed with Autism.
Stars and Strikes
is a family bowl night at a local
bowling alley.
With the help of the Eddie Guardado Foundation and ACT Today!
The event will be filled with A-List guests that are helping
to support families with Autism.
Stars and Strikes takes place on
January 27, 2013
at BowlMor Lanes in Tustin.
What a wonderful excuse for a family night and a way
to support others in need.
For more information
on the event or how you can find out more
about ACT Today!
click here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


We want to get to know as many families impacted by autism as possible. Join us online today and be a part of our mission - providing direct help to children with autism whose families cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their highest potential. 

If you believe in our mission and want to support our cause - LIKE us on Facebook. 
Then, share our link with others. 

Thanks for your support and have a happy New Year!

ACT Today!