‘Autism Speaks’ to the HappyTokes Tribe

There was an incredibly positive response to a discussion amongst the HappyTokesTribe on Instagram regarding sensory overload; our individual triggers, responses, tricks to overcome and more.

Because of these discussions I met one woman in particular who opened my eyes as she shared her somewhat recent diagnosis with adult Autism. Many of Beth’s (@hippiegirl1984) experiences mirrored symptoms we were discussing, and truthfully I felt a bit ignorant for not being fully aware of the full spectrum in which Autism presents itself; so I went in search for answers. The Autism Speaks website was packed with so much information. I called and left a voicemail asking for more specific information for adults.

Jodi, from Autism Speaks called me just days later with loads of resources to share. She was kind enough to assist me in putting this content together with lots of clickable links,  so you can be directed to any more detailed information you may need as you read.

As activists within the canna-community, I highly encourage you to educate yourself about any kind of medical information that you can bring yourself to absorb. Push yourself to learn something new about the human body every day. Simply being aware of the right questions to ask, may be able to better the lives of yourself and/ or loved ones dramatically.

Autism Speaks cannot make recommendations or provide medical or legal advice, although we are happy to provide you with information about getting a diagnosis.


The article Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults provides an overview of ASD to help recently diagnosed adults better understand the disorder, and offers guidance to people who suspect they have ASD but have not received a formal evaluation.”

Benefits of Diagnosis

After receiving a diagnosis, some folks feel a sense of relief to find out that there was a reason they felt “different”. Getting a diagnosis can also increase self-awareness which can help one focus on strengths and work around areas of challenge.

Other benefits include eligibility for supports, services and treatment and protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)ADA provides employees with autism spectrum disorders rights to reasonable accommodations at work and protection against discrimination on the basis of difficulties associated with their autism.  Autistic adults could receive services from vocational rehabilitation programs which coordinate and provide counseling, evaluation, and job placement services for people with disabilities.

  • Read more information about pursuing a diagnosis provided by the Asperger’s Association of New England.
  • Ask your doctor to refer you to a professional who is familiar with working with those with autism spectrum disorders.  To search for local medical professionals in your area who may be able to help you can also check our Resource Guide.  Click on the link and then select the state you live in.  Scroll down to the Health Services section and select a category.  You can then enter your zip code to find out which health professionals are closest to you. You can also go to the “where to get a diagnosis” category.  The resource guide contains service providers of all types. There is also lots of good information in our Resource Library, on our Family Services webpage.
  • Find resources about Asperger Syndrome.
  • Find resources about Adults with Autism.

Adult Information

The Autism Speaks Resource Guide has a specific category for adult service providers and can be a handy tool over the years. // Check out the first category “Adult – Ages 22 and Older”  for local information on the following:

  • Day Programs
  • Department of Rehabilitation Services
  • Employment Services
  • Health and Dental Services
  • Post-Secondary Education
  • Recreational and Leisure Activities
  • Residential Services
  • Transportation Services

Lots of helpful information in the Autism Speaks Resource Library, on the Family Services webpage.

Postsecondary Educational Resources / Scholarships

Autism Speaks has a Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund that selects eligible colleges, vocational/technical schools and transition programs in the United States to identify qualified students or clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and offers scholarship funds for them to attend.  // Please note, only educational institutions are eligible to apply.  Once an institution is selected to receive the funding, they will identify eligible scholarship recipients. Autism Speaks encourages you to request educational institutions in your local community to apply for these scholarship funds.

Autism Speaks has recently released the Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide that provides information for individuals with ASD and their families to explore and prepare for continuing education opportunities.

Recommended by Jodi from Autism Speaks:
The following website: www.fastweb.com is a database that has literally millions of dollars of scholarships on/for nearly everything/everyone imaginable.

Attending College // Autism Speaks has two places where you can find different post-secondary education resources:

  1. Family Services Resource Library, where you can search by topic
  2. Family Services Resource Guide, where you can search by category and then enter your zip code.  Advocates are listed under the category “Advocacy, Financial and Legal Resources”.

    Recommended by Jodi from Autism Speaks:
    – Think College is an initiative of the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at Univ of Massachusetts Boston that focuses on post-secondary education for people with intellectual disabilities. Their website offers lots of different helpful resources, including links to finding a college in your area.
    The College Internship Program(CIP) is a full-year comprehensive post-secondary transition program for young adults on the spectrum.
    – Going to College is a good site that you can look at as you make this decision.  You can learn from other college students with disabilities about college life, and what to do to prepare for it.  There are both parent and student resources on this site.
     Navigating College is a book that was written by and for young adults with autism spectrum disorders.  It is a project of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).  It can be purchased in book-form, or downloaded free of charge (160 pages)

Employment Information

The Autism SpeaksEmployment Tool Kit can help you find and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market. Stories, tips and resources were developed from a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum.

Search the Autism Speaks: local Resource Guide for local service providers and other employment opportunities.  Sometimes networking with local organizations is a great way to discover job openings that aren’t posted anywhere else.

Additional Employment Resources

Housing Information

A document listing local housing and residential service providers in the area that are listed in our Resource Guide.  Autism Speaks encourages you to reach out to these providers to explore housing opportunities in your community.

“We also want to provide some additional housing and residential information. We recognize that finding and securing housing and residential supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) can be challenging. Autism Speaks is trying to make this overwhelming process easier through a series of tools to guide you through the process of establishing residential services and supports. By providing the tools needed to make housing choices, we hope to make this often complicated process as simple and successful as possible.”
– Jodi; Autism Speaks

The Housing and Residential Supports section of the Autism Speaks website contains several sections that provide information needed to help search for housing options, and keep informed on promising developments, resources, and news in housing and residential supports.

Catalog of Residential Services: You can search via your zip code.

Autism Speaks Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit: A tool kit to assist individuals and families as they identify and secure appropriate residential supports and services.

Additional Adult Services

Parents! This article has really useful information on:
– residential placements
– options
– questions to ask
– how to choose which placement is right for your child

There are various types of residential placement options available depending upon the level of care a person may need. For information on how to start the process to obtain residential placement for your child, contact the Developmental Disabilities Office in your state. Click the previous link to find your regional disability office. You should also contact your local school district for their assistance in this process.

Support Groups for Adults with Autism

Global & Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP)
GRASP is a national organization that has several regional support groups where you can ask questions and interact with others in similar situations.

The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) center has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome. They created a single resource for families, individuals, and medical professionals who deal with the challenges of Asperger Syndrome, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder/ Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS).

Wrong Planet is a web community designed for individuals (and parents / professionals of those) with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs, and other neurological differences. They provide a discussion forum, where members communicate with each other, an article section, with exclusive articles and how-to guides, a blogging feature, and more.

ASPEN support groups-National and Worldwide
ASPEN provides education, support and advocacy information for parents and adults on the autism spectrum. They have support groups and resources for individuals and families, nationwide.

Sign up for the Autism Speaks Community Connections newsletter :  Community Connections sign up.

Thanks for reading. Come back to chat with me about what you’ve discovered on Instagram. Peace, love and @HappyTokes!

Special thanks to Jodi Miller of Autism Speaks; Autism Response Team Senior Coordinator, for collaborating with me on this blog post. You are so appreciated.
Contact //
Autism Speaks

2700 S. River Road, Suite 304
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Contact the Autism Response Team //
1-888-AUTISM2 (288-4762)
En Español: 1-888-772-9050


@HippieGirl1984 is wearing a @GibbonsGlass Pendant on a Hemp Necklace that was hand-knotted by @HappyTokes. She received a “Pay It Forward” HappyMail package from another tribe member, who spent $50 on a stranger.


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