Autism spectrum disorder is a serious issue, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have fun while educating people about the condition or while raising funds to support ASD research and services. In recent years, a new wave of nonprofit foundations and organizations have emerged, all advocating and fundraising for ASD in innovative and creative ways. Here are two prime examples:
Rock Out Autism
It was launched just five years ago, but the young nonprofit foundation Rock Out Autism has already made a big impact on the ASD community from its home base on Long Island. The organization’s mission is simple: to raise funds and build awareness about ASD by producing exciting benefit rock concerts. To date, there have been five Rock Out Autism concerts, which have together raised more than $125,000. These funds help to support the activities of Long Island’s Fay J. Lindner Center, a comprehensive clinical services facility that offers a broad range of support services for people on the autism spectrum. Some of the Center’s initiatives include new therapeutic programs, such as music therapy, for young people with ASD, as well as peer ASD mentorship programs.
In addition to raising funds and promoting awareness of ASD, Rock Out Autism encourages inclusiveness by organizing private rock shows for children with autism. For the most part, the sensory experience of a rock concert is overwhelming for people on the autism spectrum, meaning that many young people with ASD never have the chance to attend a concert safely or comfortably. Rock Out Autism addresses this issue by putting together shows that meet the needs of kids with ASD, and by coordinating unique opportunities to meet and talk with the performers afterwards.
Train 4 Autism
Based in California, the nonprofit foundation Train 4 Autism offers people the chance to support a great cause while participating in the athletic events they love. Through Train 4 Autism, participants can sign up for a wide variety of events, such as walks and marathons as well as swimming and cycling events, and raise funds for ASD research and treatment through their participation.
Train 4 Autism is unique in that, rather than producing its own events, it instead leverages the large number of already-existing athletic events to exponentially boost the number of opportunities for T4A participants. By teaming up with these independent events, Train 4 Autism significantly increases fundraising potential while allowing participants to take part in their favorite athletic competitions; T4A provides the infrastructure and support, participants put on the miles. The funds raised provide support for the facilities or programs of the participant’s choice, meaning that a wide range of ASD organizations have the opportunity to benefit from Train 4 Autism’s activities.