Autism Society Central Virginia

We are celebrating over 25 years of non-profit services, advocacy and support to families and professionals involved with autism. We are the local affiliate of the national Autism Society of America that was founded in 1965.

Over the last 35 years, the Society has developed into the leading source of information and referral on autism.

Our local affiliate provides a monthly newsletter to over 600 professionals, families and interested individuals as well as monthly meetings, a lending library, support and educational information for families or anyone interested in autism spectrum disorder.

Free Monthly Affiliate Meetings

We hold monthly affiliate meetings, September through May (December exclusive), featuring topics and speakers of interest to the autism community. The meetings are free and open to the public. Childcare may be provided with one week's notice. Please check Meetings and Events for topics and speakers.


The Autism Society Central VA sponsors workshops and conferences on a variety of topics at little or no expense to attendees.


We provide information to families and professionals in a variety of ways:

Facilitated Interest Groups

The Autism Society, Central VA sponsors the following interests groups on a variety of topics. Interest groups are free and most are open to any interested parties. Dates and times for interest groups can be found in Meetings and Events.

  • Parents of Children w/ Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism
  • Adults w/ Asperger's/High Functioning Autism Interest Group - open only to those with a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome
  • Family Members of Adults w/ Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism

Social Events for Families

We recognize the importance and need for families to gather with others experiencing life with the challenges and joys of caring for a loved one with autism. To ease the stress and encourage parents to bring their families out for an "autism friendly" activity, the Autism Society Central VA sponsors outings including, but not limited to the following:

  • Winter holiday party at the Science Museum of VA
  • Bowling parties
  • "Bounce" parties
  • Spring family picnic
  • Inclusive Lego Club
  • 5K Run Walk for Autism

Systems Level Advocacy

The Autism Society collaborates with local and state agencies and organizations to improve the lives of all affected by autism. Among the work groups we have been invited to participate as stakeholders:

  • Joint Legislative Audit and Review (JLARC) Work Groups on Autism
  • Center for Family Involvement, a project of the Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU
  • National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC)
  • Virginia Autism Council
  • Act Early Regional Autism Summit
  • Medicaid Waiver Network
  • The Advisory Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (TACIDD), advising the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Autism Center for Excellence at VCU
  • Region IV START (Systemic Therapeutic Assessment Respite Treatment) Advisory Council
  • DBHDS Settlement Agreement Stakeholder Group
  • DBHDS Individual and Family Support Funds Work Group

Camp Scholarship Grants

Each year the Autism Society Central VA awards several thousand dollars in grants to qualifying camps to provide funding for camp scholarships for children, youth, or adults on the autism spectrum whose low income would otherwise prevent them from attending camp.

Options Policy

The Autism Society promotes the active and informed involvement of family members and the individual with autism in the planning of individualized, appropriate services and supports. The Board of the Autism Society believes that each person with autism is a unique individual. Each family and individual with autism should have the right to learn about and then select, the options that they feel are most appropriate for the individual with autism. To the maximum extent possible, we believe that the decisions should be made by the individual with autism in collaboration with family, guardians and caregivers. Services should enhance and strengthen natural family and community supports for the individual with autism and the family whenever possible. The service option designed for an individual with autism should result in improved quality of life. Abusive treatment of any kind is not an option. We firmly believe that no single type of program or service will fill the needs of every individual with autism and that each person should have access to support services. Selection of a program, service or method of treatment should be on the basis of a full assessment of each person's abilities, needs and interests. We believe that services should be outcome based to insure that they meet the individualized needs of a person with autism. With appropriate education, vocational training and community living options and support systems, individuals with autism can lead dignified, productive lives in their communities and strive to reach their fullest potential. The Autism Society believes that all individuals with autism have the right to access appropriate services and supports based on their needs and desires.

-Revised by the Autism Society Board of Directors 12/12/2009

2013 Officers and Board

President:Bill Thompson
Treasurer:Adam Bailey, CPA
Meeting Secretary:Katherine Gray, J.D.
Corresponding Secretary:Tim Jones
Past President:Sandi Wiley
Board members: Chele Brandon
Dave Faulders, J.D.
Norm Geller Ph.D.
Nate Harry, CPA
Shannon Haworth
Shawn Kirk
Donna Sabel, E.D.
Monique Tinsley, MBA

Key Volunteer Positions

Newsletter Editor:Elizabeth Selko
Webmaster:Anthony Wiley


Executive Director:Bradford Hulcher
Outreach Coordinator:Tammy Burns
Recreation Facilitator:Brie King
Childcare Supervisor:Deo Smith