Watertown Organization Received Grant from Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

The following information was provided by the Doug Flutie Jr., Foundation for Autism:

The Doug Flutie Jr., Foundation for Autism (The Flutie Foundation), a leading non-profit in the Autism community, awarded over $639,000 to 67 leading non-profit organizations through the Autism Community Impact Grant. One of the organizations receiving a grant was the Association of Autism and Neurodiversity in Watertown, which received $10,000. The Flutie Foundation recognized organizations located in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Central Florida who share a passion for helping those with autism live life to the fullest. The grant also puts an emphasis on supporting traditionally under-served, under-funded, culturally diverse communities. Funds from the grant will be used to support crucial resources, programming, and activities within the autism community.

Watertown-based Asperger/Autism Network Receives $25,000 Grant

Joan McGrath, left, Executive Director of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Massachusetts & Rhode Island (PLAN of MA & RI), presents a $25,000 grant to Brenda Dater, Executive Director of Watertown-based Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) to support the organization. (Photo courtesy PLAN of MA & RI)

Watertown-based Asperger/Autism Network received a $25,000 grant from the Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. PLAN of MA & RI Executive Director Joan McGrath presented the check to Brenda Dater, executive director of ANNE. The nonprofit PLAN of MA & RI is recognized as an expert in operating special needs trusts and, since 2020, has granted more than $1 million to nonprofits supporting individuals with disabilities. For more information, visit www.planofma-ri.org.

Watertown Resident Wins Autism Research & Education Award

NECCWatertown’s Lauren Rae is a winner of the 2022 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award. The following announcement was provided by the New England Center for Children:

The New England Center for Children© (NECC©), a global leader in autism education and research, has announced Lauren Rae, a resident of Watertown, as a winner of the 2022 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award. The award, established in 2009, honors an NECC staff member who is currently enrolled in each of its two onsite graduate programs — Simmons University and Western New England University — whose work exemplifies the late Myrna Libby’s vision that research guides the education and treatment of individuals with autism. Myrna Libby, Ph.D., BCBA, was a director at NECC for 20 years whose impact endures as she was the principal program architect of NECC’s internationally recognized curriculum. As clinical director, she was a tireless advocate for using scientifically validated approaches and her groundbreaking research helped improve the lives of children with autism.

Watertown Police Selling Patches for Autism Awareness Month

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Police Department:

The WPD is proud and excited to be joining several other Massachusetts Police Departments in partnering with the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month and to honor this, we will be selling our newly created Watertown Police Autism Acceptance Patches. One hundred percent of all proceeds will be directly donated to the Flutie Foundation. There are several ways to purchase our patches and help support this awesome foundation:

1. Stop by our front window anytime through April 30th and buy a patch, cash, or check accepted.

Adult Autism Support Center Expands Services to Watertown

The following information was provided by Lifeworks:

Lifeworks, a nonprofit human services provider that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced that it is expanding its community-based autism services to include adult autism support in 40 communities in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Boston Metro Region, in addition to its existing youth and family autism services in Newton and parts of Norfolk county. Lifeworks will establish an Adult Autism Support Center within its West Roxbury office that will help individuals and families navigate available autism-related services, provide workshops and caregiver training, and participate in enriching social and recreational activities. “It’s a privilege to expand our autism support services in the DDS Metro Boston Region,” said Daniel Sullivan, Vice President of Quality and Community Services at Lifeworks. “We look forward to providing our comprehensive supports and services as we establish new community connections and partnerships.”

As part of this effort, Lifeworks will appoint an Assistant Director of Adult Services, add two new adult autism support specialists, and form new collaborations with advocacy organizations, employers, law enforcement and other community partners. Lifeworks has a long history of providing autism supports and its Family Autism Center based at its headquarters in Westwood has grown to serve nearly 1,000 individuals in the Newton/South Norfolk area. Under its new DDS contract, Lifeworks will now provide Adult Autism Support Center services in the following DDS areas:

• Greater Boston – Boston, Brookline, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop

• Charles River West – Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown

• Middlesex West – Ashland, Dover, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Westborough

• Newton/South Norfolk – Canton, Dedham, Foxborough, Medfield, Millis, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Sharon, Walpole, Wellesley, Weston, Westwood, Wrentham

Lifeworks will now support the entire age range of individuals with autism: the family program supports children and youths and the adult program supports those ages 18 and older.

Watertown Lighting Up Blue for Autism Awareness Day

Each April 2, the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, celebrates Light It Up Blue, announced the Watertown Autism Family Support Group (WAFSG). Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative that kicks-off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about autism. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the thousands of buildings lit blue to raise autism awareness. The Town of Watertown, in conjunction with the WAFSG have lit up two wooden puzzle pieces on the Watertown Square Delta and are “Lighting It Up Blue” to shine the light on Autism in our community. WAFSG invites you to stop by Watertown Square this weekend and write the name of someone you know with Autism on the blue puzzle pieces.

Autism Expert Coming to Speak About Role of Inflammation of the Brain

On Saturday, March 12, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) will host a free discussion event with Dr. Theo Theoharides, world renowned expert in the field of immunopharmacology and the impact of inflammation in individuals with autism and other related disorders. Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), Massachusetts Chapter announces A Discussion with Dr. Theoharis C. Theoharides BA, MS, MPhil, PhD, MD, FAAAAI on Saturday, March 12 beginning at 2 p.m. Location: Watertown Public Library – 123 Main St., Watertown. FREE: All members and guests are welcome. Dr. Theoharides is Professor of Pharmacology, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry, as well as Director of Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston. He first showed that mast cells, known for causing allergic reactions, are critical for inflammation, especially in the brain, and most recently in the pathogenesis of autism.