The Arizona Autism Coalition improves the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families in Arizona by sharing resources and affecting autism systems reform through state-wide collaboration and advocacy.
Coalition Goals & Objectives
The Coalition goals and objectives are designed to provide and support an inclusive membership organization for all service providers and families affected by autism in Arizona. The Coalition has selected priorities, which include:
Advocating jointly for better services and improved quality of life for persons with ASDs at the city, state, and federal levels.
Educating professionals who interface with affected children.
Identifying gaps in reaching those who would utilize training.
Expanding the distribution of early identification and early intervention information to families via hospitals, medical offices, schools, daycare centers or any organization that comes in contact with children ages 0-5.
Evaluating all ASD provider services and to come to agreement as to the best standards and practices and implementing those agreed upon standards and practices locally, statewide and nationwide.
Developing active collaborations and cooperative partnerships.
Developing a coordinated approach to addressing the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) funding cutbacks.
Identifying unique missions of the various ASD service providers to avoid duplication of services.
Building alliances with respected peers, fostering community allies and promoting community involvement.
In light of the challenges surrounding autism services in Arizona, community stakeholders clearly recognized the need for better coordination to address the challenges faced by families including an increasing population, the tremendous cost of treatment, and the maze of services through which families must navigate.
In the spring of 2007 a partnership was formed by the founding organizations of the Coalition including SARRC, H.O.P.E. Group, S.E.E.K. Arizona, Arizona Autism Support, Chrysalis Academy/Play ABA, UCP, Southwest Human Development, Guthrie Mainstream Services, GREAT Kids, Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Loden Group, and A.S.S.I.S.T. Corp., proposed to launch the “Arizona Autism Services Coalition” (Coalition). The founders hosted a kick-off event for the Coalition at the Autism Society of America (ASA) Conference in Phoenix that year. The purpose of the event was to establish a strong interest and feasibility in creating a formal state-wide Coalition. As a result of the event, an official proposal was prepared by SARRC and sent to LodeStar for consideration of the initial funding of the project. LodeStar granted funding to the Coalition for the first two years with a provision of matching donations in year one and two, and $25,000 in privately-raised funds.
Today the Arizona Autism Coalition operates with funding from various community grants, membership donations and fundraising events including an Annual Conference in November and the Annual Autism Expo in March.