FAP founder Brita Darany von Regensburg's daughter Vanessa was born with classic autism. When Vanessa became an adult in the eyes of the law, she transferred from Benhaven school for Autistic Children to a group home in her CT home of the Greenwich Association of Retarded Citizens because there was no staff that was Autism trained. She was treated with severe lack of respect and finally discharged to a state institution.
That was when Brita found there were no legally mandated autism-specific services, programs or supports available for Vanessa. "It was as if Vanessa's life no longer existed," Brita said.
Her experiences caring for Vanessa as an adult left Brita determined that no one else should go through the desperation and struggle alone. She formed FAP in 1997 with a commitment to help families navigate the system, and advocate for and intervene on behalf of their children with autism.
That was when Brita found there were no legally mandated autism-specific services, programs or supports available for Vanessa. "It was as if Vanessa's life no longer existed," Brita said.
Her experiences caring for Vanessa as an adult left Brita determined that no one else should go through the struggle alone. She formed FAP in 1997 with a commitment to helping families navigate the system, and advocate for and intervene on behalf of their children with autism.
Friends of Autistic People is the fore-front of change. We are an Autism Education and Advocacy organization dedicated to bringing about an environment where adult children with autism can be assured of quality care and assistance after they turn 21. FAP was the first charitable organization in Connecticut to advocate for appropriate services for adults on the entire spectrum of autism throughout their life span.
We seek for our children a life that allows them to make CHOICES, live as independently as possible, have access to all aspects of the community, including schooling, housing, employment, public service and leisure. Our goal is for them to be UNDERSTOOD and ACCEPTED as another facet in the tapestry of society and become its VALUED participating members.
FAP strives to reach this goal by raising awareness of the services and supported living arrangements that autistic adults need, and searching for help within public and private organizations.
FAP has advanced the cause of adults with autism in a number of ways.
FAP-Friends of Autistic People is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization dedicated to raising awareness of services and supported living arrangements needed for improving the lives of children and adults across the entire Autism Spectrum from Autism, from the non-verbal to those with to Asperger’s syndrome. We raise awareness, educate, and inform the public, parents, legislators, and the business world about autism. We conduct email alerts, telephone referrals, presentations by globally known autism professionals and advocate for life span supports with State and Federal Legislators. We run a new Moms’/Dads’ support/networking group through which we want to bring hope to parents who struggle with the effects of this disorder, and we hold workshops about four times a year.
Heralding the future Community of Homesteads, FAP created the Music Therapy Clinic, where we provide full or partial funding of Music based Autism Therapy for children or adults with autism from economically struggling families. Music therapy is a scientific autism treatment therapy, which helps individuals with autism reach their developmental milestones.
FAP’s expanded mission is to create a "green" sustainable Community of Homesteads, a model horticultural/agricultural based living/working community, a village, for young adults with autism where they can live, receive nature based education and learn meaningful skills under the guidance of Autism trained staff. Their life and work will be based on choice. They will have choices and to the extent of their abilities, they will become contributing members of society. The Homesteads will be a collaborative practice ground for students, interns and professionals, as well as laboratory for researching innovative techniques. The Community of Homesteads will also serve as an outdoor classroom to children from nearby schools. The Music Therapy Clinic will provide one of the essential therapy programs for the residents. The Community of Homesteads initiative allows farsighted, generous donors a wonderful way to preserve open space and leave legacy through naming opportunities to parts or entire community.
Excerpt from a Greenwich Post article by Sara Poirier, Assistant Editor Sept 19 2007
Brita Darany von Regensburg receives Spirit of Greenwich Award
The Spirit of Greenwich Awards seeks to recognize and honor women volunteers in vision, devotion and accomplishment that enhance our community,” said Chris Hikawa, chairwoman of the YWCA Board of Directors, just before introducing the recipients at Tuesday’s ceremony.
The 2007 honorees include Pamela A. Farr, Elise Hillman Green, Phyllis Jacob, Patricia B. McDonald, Linda Munger, Brita Darany von Regensburg, Nancy Voye Weissler and Martha “Muffin” Zoubek.
Women received a gift from the YWCA, “Spirit” certificate, citations from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Mr. Nickerson, and a congratulatory letter from United States Congressman Christopher Shays.
As each recipient was introduced to the crowd of more than 100, each expressed gratitude to the organizations to which they had and continue to serve, as well as the people who helped them along the way.
Ms. Darany von Regensburg has advocated for the needs of grown children with autism for more than a decade, founding Friends of Autistic People (FAP) in 1997. A former interior designer and the mother of an autistic daughter, Ms. Darany von Regensburg has served as the nonprofit’s president, bringing internationally renowned autism experts to Greenwich.
The latest initiative of FAP is to create the first farm living and learning academy village for grown autistic children in Connecticut.
Ms. Darany von Regensburg has also been involved with Kids in Crisis, the Greenwich Library Flinn Gallery, the Red Cross, Greenwich Hospital, the Bruce Museum, Greenwich ARC, and many other groups locally and regionally.
She and her husband, Tibor, were honored as Greenwich Volunteer Couple of the Year by the Volunteer Center and the United Way of Fairfield in 2005.
STAMFORD and GREENWICH, CT, July 30, 2007
Morton's The Steakhouse and the Fairfield County Chapter of the American Red Cross, along with the world's leading women in wine, will honor Brita Darany of Greenwich at an exclusive wine dinner to be held August 10th at Morton's The Steakhouse in Stamford. Ms. Darany is being honored as Stamford's "Woman of Spirit", a woman who reflects values and principles similar to the mission of the American Red Cross, and who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to volunteerism and service. She is founder and president of the grassroots organization, Friends of Autistic People (FAP).
Ms. Darany is one of 38 "Women of Spirit" selected by Morton's The Steakhouse and the American Red Cross who exemplify the spirit of the founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton. Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross, notes, "Over 125 years ago, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on the battlefield of the Civil War. She was a woman of dedication and commitment who helped so many in their hour of need and she had an unyielding spirit. The American Red Cross is very honored to be Morton's national partner to highlight the power of women like Clara Barton who selflessly volunteer and serve others in their community." In September, the 38-city campaign will conclude with an "all-star" gala event honoring the American Red Cross, in Washington, DC, at the Morton's in Georgetown, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Mother of an autistic adult daughter, Vanessa, Ms. Darany founded FAP in 1999 when she realized no services were available to meet the needs of autistic adults. Through perseverance and hard work, she has made FAP an effective, well-known, well-supported entity in the local community. Her dedicated lobbying efforts have succeeded in fulfilling her advocacy efforts at local, state and national levels. In 2000, FAP collaborated with the Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation to plan and open its first autism-focused group home in Fairfield County. Friends of FAP and speakers at FAP parents meetings have included Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Chis Shays, Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.
Brita and her husband, Tibor, were honored as Greenwich Volunteer Couple of the Year by the Volunteer Center and the United Way of Fairfield in 2005.
Good Morning!! Brita and the Friends of Autistic People Family!!!
First I'd like to say, you guys are truly a sincere group of people fighting for a great cause. I truly enjoyed and appreciated my time at your most recent event honoring Tommy and Dee Hilfiger. I’ve not been the same since. My heart has been grieved with empathy and compassion for your plight as parents and organizers. When I arrived home that evening, though it was late my 14yr old son woke up and he, my 24yr old daughter and I shared the events of our day. Yet, through all the chatter and gratitude for a day well spent my mind could not escape what my heart experienced when Brita, during her address of the quests declared, "I was ANGRY at the lack of resources concerning adults with Autism.” WHOA! “Did she say, “ANGRY!?” I thought as it isn’t a word I often use or hear amongst such audiences. Disappointed, sadden, frustrated, gravely concerned, overwhelmed, even outraged or T’d off, but not “ANGRY!” There is something about that word that many would shy away from when identifying an emotion in such an arena, including me, that is until now.The word, “ANGRY!” pierced my soul, it had felt so raw, so honest and yet the emotion attached to it said, “to add insult to injury, I am tired of saying or feeling as though not enough is being done about it soon enough or efficiently enough.” Later, this sentiment of feeling anger was reiterated by Dee Hilfiger. At which point my heart broke in two. In a later exchange in a show of solidarity and sincerity I asked Brita about her choice of words, at which time she said, "Gina, rt? Gina is your name? I was actually furious, I was trying to be nice when I said angry!" At that point all I could do is look at her and say, “I get it!”......
I am the mother of a teenage boy with autism. As my son ages doors close - there are fewer and fewer opportunities for him to have meaningful interactions with others. I am so pleased that there is an organization like FAP out there that is, more than metaphorically, looking to open a door, working to build a better future for adult children with autism. The Farm project will open a door to a future where our children can continue to grow and can lead happy and fulfilling lives.
As the mother of a 34 year-old son with autism and as a professional in the disability field, I applaud the diligence and determination of Friends of Autistic People to create a sustainable farming community for adults on the Autism Spectrum: a vibrant community within the community where learning, growing, working and giving back to the community become a daily reality for our adult children on the spectrum. I am proud to be an active member of this progressive, innovative and dedicated organization. As everyone knows only too well, the population of those with autism is swelling to previously unimaginable numbers. Parents of individuals with Autism are aging and families will not always be there to care for their family member with Autism. Currently, there are very few group homes that are capable of providing the intensive and comprehensive life services that adults on the Autism Spectrum so desperately require to be fully included in their communities. There is little evidence that this dearth of group homes will change over time. It is imperative that we, the families of children with Autism, actively support and participate in building the farm and realizing the dream that we all share: a safe, caring, productive, and thriving living, learning, and working environment for our sons and daughters.
My son Alex is almost 17 (10/24/89) and I do decorating and teach design at a college also. These upcoming (FAP) events sound great and I will come. Thank you for all the work you are doing...it is so meaningful!!
I just wanted to reach out and say hello to you. I sat next to you at lunchtime during the Autism Conference at Adelphi University. I hope that all is well with you and your daughter. It is such a wonderful thing that you are doing for adults with Autism. Sitting next to you and across to the nice woman on the other side of the lunch table helped me feel assured that there is hope for my 7 year old son in the future for when he reaches adulthood. Please continue doing the wonderful things that you are doing. The world needs more people like you with big hearts full of love.
The purpose of the Friends of Autistic People Advisory Board is to assist and support the organization in carrying out its mission of education, counsel, advocacy, and development of services for adults with autism.
Among responsibilities of individuals invited to serve on the Advisory Board are:
Dr. Margaret L. Bauman is a distinguished pediatric neurologist and research investigator who has been a pioneer in the study and treatment of autism for the past twenty- five years. One of the world's foremost physicians in this field, she is highly respected for the outstanding clinical care she provides, as well as for her research and teachings in the domain of developmental disorders. Dr. Bauman's dedicated career is best exemplified in her establishment and development of The Autism Research Foundation (TARF), The Autism Research Consortium (TARC), The Lurie Center for Autism and The Autism Treatment Network (ATN).
The Lurie Center for Autism is a comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic program for children, adolescents and adults with autism and associated neurological disorders founded by Dr. Bauman in 1981 as LADDERS (Learning and Developmental Disabilities and Rehabilitation Services). The Lurie Center for Autism provides a true team approach to the cohesive evaluation and treatment of each patient, while including parents as key team members.
Under Dr. Bauman's leadership, The Lurie Center for Autism has continued to expand its delivery of services to those on the autism spectrum and now includes team expertise in the specialties of neurology, psychiatry, psychopharmacokinetics, gastroenterology, genetics, nursing, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental pediatrics, behavioral psychology and neuropsychology with additional specialties addressed by consultants. Together these professionals provide each patient with an individualized program from evaluation to an array of comprehensive services and treatments necessary for the child/adult to reach his/her maximum potential.
Professor, Colorado State University
Born on August 29, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts, Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and went on to pursue work in psychology and animal science. She has become a leading advocate for autistic communities and has also written books and provided consultation on the humane treatment of animals. In 2010, HBO released an Emmy Award winning film on Grandin’s life.
Grandin has taken strong positions on autism and the education of autistic children. She advocates early intervention, including the training of teachers to direct each child’s specific fixations. She is a champion of “neurodiversity” and has opposed the notion of a comprehensive cure for autism.
In 2009, she was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She is the recipient of several honorary degrees, and has been featured on a range of television and radio programs.
Grandin has cited her lack of interest in emotional issues and relationships, including fictional representations of interpersonal relationships. She is unmarried and has no children.
In her writing, particularly her memoir Thinking in Pictures, Grandin explains the ways in which autism shapes her daily life. She wears soft and comfortable clothes to balance her sensory integration dysfunction, and avoids sensory overload at all costs. As a teenager, Grandin designed a "squeeze machine" based on the containers used to pacify cattle during immunizations. She found that the structure had a significant therapeutic benefit, helping her to manage her anxiety.
Dr. Nancy O’Hara is a board certified Pediatrician. Prior to her medical career, Dr. O’Hara taught children with autism. She graduated with highest honors from Bryn Mawr College and as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh. After residency, chief residency and general pediatric fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. O’ Hara entered general private practice in 1993, and in 1998 began her consultative, integrative practice solely for children with special needs. Since 1999 she has dedicated her practice to the integrative and holistic care of children with neurodevelopment disorders, ADHD, PANDAS/PANS, OCD, Lyme and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She is a leader in the training of clinicians, both in the US and abroad.
The EPIC School
Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D. is currently serving as Executive Director of The EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gerhardt has more than 30 years’ experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He has authored and coauthored articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt serves as Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, is on the Editorial Board of Behavior Analysis in Practice and on numerous professional advisory boards. He received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education.
Alan Harchik, PhD, BCBA-D
Alan is currently serving as an expert consultant for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. He is formerly Chief Operating Officer of the May Institute. He was responsible for the operation of the Institute’s service programs in autism, mental retardation,brain injury, and mental health. Dr. Harchik is a licensed psychologist, a board certified behavior analyst, and a certified teacher of children with moderate and severe special needs. Dr. Harchik has expertise in the areas of autism and developmental disabilities, applied behavior analysis, organizational behavior management, staff training and supervision, severe challenging behavior, choice making, self-management, and skill development. Dr. Harchik earned his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kansas after graduating magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in special education. He holds active teaching appointments at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Westfield State College, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Kansas, Northeastern University, and Fitchburg State College. He has published in a variety of professional journals and presented at numerous conferences across the United States.
Howard Klebanoff, attorney, is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. and served as a State Representative from 1969-1977. He was the House Chairman of the Education Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly and was the first chairman of the Connecticut Board of Higher Education.
The father of two children with disabilities, Attorney Klebanoff is nationally recognized in the fight for special education, and the educational rights of students. He helped write key legislation designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities and their families, and is considered one of Connecticut's most distinguished attorneys in special education law. The University of Connecticut established the Klebanoff Institute of Special Education in recognition of his work on behalf of children with disabilities. childhood to post-secondary education. He has lectured on special education law at the University of Connecticut and at the other State Universities. He has over 40 years of experience representing children with special needs. He represented families of children with all disabilities, including learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, deafness, physical disabilities and autism. His goal was to ensure that all children gained access to appropriate programming, services and placement, in a public or private setting. In addition, he represented both children who have been harassed or bullied, and children involved in disciplinary proceedings such as expulsions.
As of May 2017, he retired from the active practice of law and no longer represents individual clients. However, he has been named an independent state mediator by the State Department of Education for disputes under the "Individual Disabilities Education Act" (IDEA). Attorney Klebanoff is a trained IEP (Individualized Education Program) Facilitator under the State of Connecticut Department of Education Facilitations program.
Director, Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor & Chief, Division of Autism & Related Disorders, Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.
Research Description: Ami Klin is the director of Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine, the largest center of clinical care for children with autism and their families, and one of only three NIH Autism Centers of Excellence. Dr. Klin is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher. Dr. Klin's primary research activities focused on the emergence of social mind and brain, and disruptions thereof in autism, from infancy through adulthood. One area of emphasis in this work is a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Warren Jones in which eye-tracking technology is used to visualize and measure social engagement. This program of research has more recently focused on monitoring infants at increased risk for developmental disabilities, from birth, in order to detect the earliest quantitative markers of autism in infancy. This effort aims at lowering age of detection and at improving access to early treatment with the goal of improving outcomes for children with autism.
Michael D. Powers is the Director of CCSN in Glastonbury, Connecticut and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Powers specializes in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of individuals with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders and has published and presented extensively on these topics.
Dr. Powers is co-editor (with Drs. Volkmar, Pelphry & Paul) of the Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders, the author of Asperger Syndrome and Your Child, and editor of the award-winning book Children with Autism: A Parent’s Guide. Dr. Powers has been involved in designing educational programs, staff training, and in program evaluation for students with autism spectrum disorders throughout the United States and abroad for over 30 years. He has worked with the York District Regional School Board in Ontario, Canada; the Agazzi Institute in Arezzo, and Opera Santa Rita in Prato, Italy; the Bedfordshire County Council (UK)School Improvement Division; the Utah, Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Florida State Departments of Education; and various regional and local school districts. Dr. Powers is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome, The Geneva Centre for Autism in Toronto, and former member of the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of America.
Director, Ben Haven Learning Network
Today, FAP's most important project is to build a prototype, green Farm Academy, with a cutting-edge teaching facility and small village campus. On the Farm, adult children over 21 with autism will live and enjoy nature based education, learn a variety of skills like self-help, arts, crafts, food preparation, animal care and office, farm and academic skills.
The skills grown children with autism will learn at the Farm Academy may also allow them to take jobs someday and earn income. For example, Vanessa Darany, daughter of FAP founder Brita Darany von Regensburg, has learned with assistance to bake organic apple pies, which prepares her to work at a bakery. Once their potential is tapped, the possibilities are endless for adults with autism.
Our children do well in quiet, open and natural environments. Many love to walk, love animals and just enjoy being outdoors. They also thrive on repetition, and the peaceful routine of farm life.
The "student farmers" at the FAP Farm Academy will:
Adults with autism in the FAP Farm Academy will learn to be increasingly independent. Successful farmers will advance from a highly structured living and learning environment that requires one-on-one supervision, to jobs and housing that need less support.
Being on the farm will be rewarding for adults with autism. To the extent of their abilities, they will exercise a life of self-determination. The Farm Academy will help these children on their journey to become an integral part of society as they increase their independence.
To that end, there will be a constant focus on helping our farmers acquire skills by turning their behaviors into talents. Each person will have an individually designed residential, work and leisure plan tailored to their interests and level of ability. We assume competency for every person. Some important skills that will be targeted for development:
Farms for adults with autism are not a new idea. The first such farm model was established at Somerset Court in England in 1974. Since then, many farms for adults with autism have been set up worldwide. The first U.S. farm, BitterSweet Farms in Ohio, opened in the early 1980s and is still a flourishing community.
FAP aims to build the prototype of a green Farm Academy with sustainable farming and living methods. We will preserve open space, use rescue animals in the animal assisted therapy programs, and act to leave the smallest carbon-footprint possible.
You can help us build the dream by buying a piece of the future. Buy a room, buy a house, buy the ranch! If you would like to make a major gift, and get a naming opportunity, please see more information here.
You can help us make the farm become a reality faster while you leave a wonderful legacy.
You can buy a brick and have it engraved with a message.
You can honor or remember someone who is dear to you or to whom you are grateful for their friendship, guidance or inspiration - a teacher, child, parent, grandparent, your company, or your favorite group. You can celebrate a birthday or buy a brick in the memory of an individual or a group.
A Brick with up to 20 letters - $100.00
A Brick with 21 - 60 letters - $200.00
Email email@example.com or call 203-661-8510
Print out the form, fill in the desired message, and mail with your check or credit card details to:
Friends of Autistic People
974 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06831
Friends of Autistic People has proudly partnered with Infinity Music Therapy Services to offer financially struggling families subsidized music therapy for their child or adult child with Autism.
Music therapy is a data-based allied health profession that uses music and music-based interventions to address non-music goals and objectives. For individuals diagnosed with Autism, music therapy can focus on improving speech and language, social skills, sensory integration, attention to task, self-regulation, and cognition, just to name a few.
A music therapist is an individual who:
Each session is customized to the individual receiving services to target each client’s individual needs while incorporating their preferred music, instruments, and materials, while accommodating for the person’s learning style. Music therapy sessions are highly interactive and involve live music. In a session, you may see:
For more information about FAP's Assisted Music Therapy Program, please contact Tibor Darany at 203-661-8510 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Parisi, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, March 23, 2009
Anthony Recck & Kevin McAvoy, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, October 27, 2008
Department of Developmental Services, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, July 28, 2008
DDS West Region Individual and Family Support Resource Team, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, April 28, 2008
Neil Boyle, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, November 26, 2007
Suzanne Letso and Judthi Palazzo, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, September 17, 2007
Phoebe Tucker, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, June 25, 2007
Margaret Kardos, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, May 21, 2007
Laura di Galbo, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, April 30, 2007
Cindy Stramandinoli, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, March 19, 2007
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017. 6: 30 pm to 9: 30 pm (6: 30 – 7: 00 pm Private Meet & Greet with Tommy & Dee). Stunning New Private Home,* Celebrate on Terrace (weather permitting)
Friends of Autistic People - The FAP - and GREENWICH MAGAZINE invite you to A SPRING NIGHT FOR AUTISM on the occasion of FAP’s 20th Anniversary and to celebrate Autism Month
Wine/Champagne/Cocktails by Val's Putnam Wines
Heavy Hors D'oeuvres by Susan Kane Catering
Ben Zabin, wandering Illusionist to keep you wondering
Nanny Assis Brazilian Jazz
Olga Litvinenko, Miss Connecticut
Informal Fashion show - young people with Autism & their friends modeling Tommy Hilfiger outfits
Live & Silent Auction
Complimentary copy to every guest, of a signed gift-boxed Hilfiger Memoir “American Dreamer”
Friends of Autistic People (FAP) and Greenwich Hospital will co-host Dr. Roger Jou, Medical Director at the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience, Yale Child Study Center, at the Noble Conference Center, in a presentation entitled "Medication, Mental Health, and Autism, on Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM
Dr. Jou will speak about new treatment strategies, including experimental approaches targeting core social and communication vulnerabilities. Dr. Jou is one of the few autism focused psychiatrists who treats older children and adults with autism. He advises on using as little medication as possible and warns against over medicating. He states that individuals living with autism are at increased risk for mental health conditions. Some examples include anxiety, depression, inattention and hyperactivity. While there are no medications approved for treating the underlying social disability of autism, these co-occurring mental health conditions can often be effectively treated with the same medications approved for use in their typically developing peers. However, careful adaptation is required to ensure accurate assessment, which is essential for safe and effective treatment. Adaptations not only include tailored prescribing practices, but also close collaboration with key professionals and family members. Given the shortage of prescribers and other professionals specialized in treating mental health conditions in individuals living with autism, the aforementioned process is at risk for breakdown. This presentation addresses these various challenges by providing an overview on psychotropic medications followed by principles and practices for use in this special population. There will be time for Q & A.
FAP has hired a new part-time Director of Development, Charity Poth! Charity comes with extensive experience in similar work with other non-profit organizations.
We have found an ideal property for the Green Farm Living and Learning Academy located in Fairfield County which is practically in move-in condition. While we continue to explore a variety of funding resources, we badly need the donations from all parents, friends, and our prior supporters! Help us turn our Farm into a reality!
The Berkowitz Law Firm is one of FAP's generous sponsors.
Visit the Berkowitz Law Firm website here.
FAP begins a new Networking Moms Group for all parents (dads welcome!) of children and adults with autism and other disabilities.
The group meets on the last Monday of each month at Pizza Post at 522 E Putnam Ave in Cos Cob and provides an opportunity for all parents to share in the struggles, stresses, and joys of parenting a child with autism. Just come! No need to RSVP, although it is appreciated.
Friends of Autistic People hosted a patron party at the C. Parker Gallery to enjoy an evening of fine art, gourmet hors d'ouvres by Cooking-In, and wine.
The painting collection's highlight was the selection of Peter Max's Marilyn Monroe originals. Presentations were given by two autism professionals: Dr. Dorita Berger, certified Music Therapist, and Talia Ben-Joseph, Expressive Arts Therapist, followed by Takashi Ito, a parent who presented a moving speech about the many gifts given to him by his 13 year old his son with profound autism.
Autism Awareness Day at the Capitol in Hartford is sponsored by the Connecticut Autism Action Coalition (CAAC).
The celebration is preceded by a Meet and Greet with several Connecticut legislators including Governor Dannel Malloy, CT Senator Martin Looney, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. This year’s focus is to celebrate the achievements of people with autism, particularly demonstrated by a moving and enlightening speech on growing up with Asperger’s by Kevin Daly, member of CAAC.
On Family Hearing Day, Brita Darany von Regensburg presents a testimony pleading to reinstate autism-specific services slashed due to DDS budget cuts by the State of Connecticut. This event is a chance for parents and guardians of individuals with disabilities to express their concerns regarding the $30 million cut by Gov. Malloy from the DDS budget. She states that autism therapy programs that help children and adults progress to higher independence are of vital importance for these adults to progress. The testimony is also published as a “Letter to the Editor” in the Greenwich Post.
FAP begins pilot Music Therapy clinic with five students. Board Certified Music Therapist, Dr. Dorita Berger, MT, BC, LCAT , implements a highly-structured individualized lesson plan that helps individuals with autism reach developmental milestones. This program is available to all ability-levels and ages.
The Definition of Autism According to the New DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) In collaboration with Easter Seals of Stamford, FAP hosts international autism expert Dr. Michael Powers for a superb presentation on the new DSM-5 definition of ASD and its effects on families and their children with autism.
Friends of Autistic People’s annual fundraising gala honors Autism Speaks’ Executive VP of Strategic Communication, Michael Rosen, and features award-winning comedienne, Jane Condon. The venue of the event is Donald Axleroad’s spectacular waterfront home. Patrons watch the sun set from the large porch while listening to the music of the John Murray Band.
Mathias Alfen, renowned sculptor and painter, holds a show Into the White: Revelations and contributes a very generous 25% of the proceeds to Friends of Autistic People. The special exhibit is intended to show Alfen’s artistic expression of his personal experience with autism and to raise autism awareness in the art collector demographic.
Brita Darany von Regensburg is awarded the R. Michael Dunne Quality of Life Award by the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. Award is presented by Mary Young, Executive Director, Red Cross of Westchester and Fairfield County.
Robin Wood, Director of Family Support Strategies & Advocacy provide an overview of DDS services and review the department's Five Year plan goals. Michael Blaszko, Case Manager supervisor in the Autism Division speaks about the Autism waivers and what services are available for those on the autism spectrum. Emphasis is placed on helping families understand how new directions that have been recently undertaken by the department will impact families in the future.
Matthias Alfen, German-born artist, exhibits his white on white paintings and sculptures at his studio barn to benefit Friends of Autistic People.
Vanessa Darany presented her homemade organic apple pie to him in recognition of his great generosity
Forum with U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy
FAP President Brita Darany von Regensburg and her husband Tibor Darany attended the first ever Summit of the national organization Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism!
It was an exciting event. The Farm Academy planned by FAP will hopefully be the first to introduce the ACAA concept to Connecticut.
Family Fun Day
Legislative Forum with Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4)
Greenwich Mayor Peter Tesei proclaimed April, International Autism Month, as "Friends of Autistic People Month".
FAP President Brita Darany von Regensburg attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Roses for Autism in Branford, CT
A benefit for the Farm Academy, with special guest Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Activist and celebrity wife Deirdre Imus gave a presentation on personal sustainability at the Audubon Center in Greenwich.
A wine tasting event hosted by the Greenwich Wine Society to benefit FAP
FAP's 10th anniversary benefit with Judge Judy Scheindlin.
Friends of Autistic People (FAP) and Greenwich Hospital will co-host Dr. Roger Jou, Medical Director at the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience, Yale Child Study Center. at the Noble Conference Center ,in a presentation entitled "Medication, Mental Health, and Autism. on Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM
Tommy & Dee Hilfiger Benefit Event Ticket Information
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Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 1 in 88 - some say as many as 1 in 50 - children in the USA - and the numbers are rising. Autism affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others and respond appropriately to their environment.
The signs of autism typically appear in the first three years of life. The disorder has no known cause or cure, though treatment can sometimes reduce the symptoms.
Autism manifests itself in individuals in different ways and intensities. Some people with autism are relatively high functioning, with full control of their speech and intelligence. Others are mentally retarded, mute or have serious language delays.
Autism makes some individuals close off and shut down. Others seem locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking.
Adapted from the CT Autism Spectrum Resource Center
Autism is a group of a neurobiological disorders (also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders) that includes DPP-NOS, autism, and Asperger's syndrome. These conditions generally result in:
The above behaviors lead to an inability to make and keep friends, an inability to find and hold jobs, and an inability to express themselves.
This, in turn, leads to frustration, anxiety, withdrawal and depression.
An estimated 60% of adults with autism need lifelong training, supervision and reinforcement of skills. Public schools' responsibility for providing these services ends when the autistic person is 21 years old.
The needs of autistic adults include:
Where will he live? Will jobs be available to him? Will she continue to receive life skills training from qualified caregivers? Will she be safe?
When autistic children reach age 21, they and their families are left to fend for themselves. Appropriate placements are just not available. The profoundly autistic may find themselves in institutional settings where they stay for the rest of their lives.
Friends of Autistic People works to increase the options available to autistic adults, by raising awareness of facts such as:
A number of organizations provide terrific resources for those affected by autism.
You are not alone. Your struggle is our struggle.
As a group, our lives have all been touched by autism. We are uniquely qualified to serve as emotional supports for each other.
Together, we can change the way autism affects our lives and the lives of our families. Together, we can have one voice. And together, we can make that voice heard.
As members of Friends of Autistic People, we can:
The Time Is Now
Parents, don't wait until your autistic child is 17, 19, 21. Change in legislation occurs slowly.
Act now to provide security for our children's future... before the time comes when we can no longer take care of them.
As a non-profit organization, the success of our mission is entirely dependent on donations, members’ support, and volunteer work. Help us make a difference in the lives of grown children with autism. Your support is needed!
We are always looking for help, and we would love to have you assist us with:
Contact Brita Darany von Regensburg at 203-661-8510, or by email to learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities.
Greenwich Time, June 4, 2017
Greenwich Free Press, May 29, 2017, By: BRENDAN BOYD AND LAUREN MADIGAN-SINCLAIR
Greenwich Time, Sunday, January 22, 2017, By Ken Borsuk
Greenwich Daily Voice, July 9, 2015. By Robert Berczuk
It's Relevant, October 23, 2013. By Priscilla Lombardi
Connecticut Post, July 24, 2012. By John Burgeson
Natural Awakenings, July 2012
Greenwich Post, May 30, 2012. By Greenwich Post Staff
Greenwich Post, April 25, 2012. By Greenwich Post
Greenwich Time, April 18, 2012. By Lisa Chamoff
Greenwich Post, 30 September 2011
Greenwich Magazine, May 2011. By Christy Colasurdo
Natural Awakenings, April 2011
Newtown Patch, February 4, 2011. By Cathy Sullivan
Stamford Advocate, September 10, 2010. By Christina Hennessy, Staff Writer
Greenwich Time, July 11, 2010. By Lisa Chamoff, Staff Writer
Westport Patch, May 8, 2010. By Carol King
Fairfield County Look, July 25, 2009
Greenwich Post, October 7, 2004. By Ken Borsuk
FAP, February 16, 2011. By Christy Colasurdo and Brita Darany von Regensburg
Greenwich Chamber of Commerce's R. Michael Dunne Quality of Life Award: Autism organization recognized, Greenwich Post, Aug. 1, 2013
Brita and Tibor Darany Honored, J apan Society of Fairfield County, 2011
Spirit of Greenwich award, Greenwich Post, Sept. 20, 2007
Darany honored as 'Woman of Spirit', Greenwich Citizen, Aug. 24, 2007
Award winner Brita Darany is a friend of autistic people, Greenwich Post, July 30, 2007
Local couple honored for work to help the autistic, Greenwich Time, Apr. 25, 2005
Greenwich volunteers honored, Greenwich Post, Apr. 7, 2005
Talk with Deirdre Imus: Dierdre Imus speaks at Audubon Center, Greenwich Post, July 8, 2010
Workshop with Laura Parisi: Food choices for autistic people, Greenwich time, Mar. 29, 2009
Workshop with Phoebe Tucker: FAP Hosts Event at Christ Church, Greenwich Citizen, June 22, 2007
Experts to speak on spectrum disorders at Monday's FAP meeting, Greenwich Time, Sept. 11, 2007
Panel: Developmentally disabled need more help, Greenwich Time, Jan. 20, 2002
Talk with Larry Wood: Talk centers on autistic adults' needs, Greenwich Time, Apr. 9, 1999
Patron Party at Christopher Peacock Cabinetry: Patron Party, Fairfield County Home, 2008
FAP's first patron party: Green Acres, Greenwich Magazine, July 2007
Many pitched in to benefit autism organization, Greenwich Time
FAP's first benefit: Raising funds and awareness for adults with autism, Greenwich Post, Apr. 6, 2001
FAP to hold first benefit, Greenwich Post, Mar. 16, 2001
Family Fun Day at Bartlett Arboretum, Stamford: Autism's friends, Greenwich Time, July 26, 2012
FAP to hold first benefit, Greenwich Post, Mar. 16, 2001
Pool Party: Friends of Autistic People Pool Party, Greenwich Time, Aug. 17, 2013
Greetings at walkathon, Greenwich Post, Dec. 22, 2011
FAP Walkathon, Greenwich Time, July 18, 2006
Brita Darany von Regensburg with Dolly Powers at NAAR Walk-a-thon, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2002
Making strides for autism research, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2002
Tesei proclaims April "Autism Awareness Month", Greenwich Citizen
FAP Autism Awareness Month, 2010: Town gives Friends of Autistic People boost as group aims to build farm, Greenwich Post, Apr. 20, 2010
FAP Autism Awareness Month, 2009: Autism awareness, Apr. 29, 2009
Legislators to meet tomorrow with Friends of Autistics, Greenwich Time, Oct. 17, 2000
Friends of autistics lobby Town Hall, Greenwich Post, Apr. 16, 1999
Friends of Autistic People at the ACAA Summit, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2012
FAP dreams of farm: Group home experience spurs search for alternative, State of the Spectrum, Apr. 2011
Group seeks to come to aid of autistic adults, Greenwich Time, Mar. 10, 1999
Warm apple pie, Apr. 28, 2013
Autism and aging: When kids grow up, Greenwich Time, July 11, 2010
Autistic adults too often overlooked, The Advocate, Apr. 3, 2008
The older autistic: what happens when they grow up, Greenwich Time, July 16, 2007
Coping day by day, Greenwich Magazine, Oct. 2003
Friends of Autistic People, Greenwich Time, October 2003
Friends of Autistic People, Greenwich Time, Oct. 2003
Group says autistic adults need support, Greenwich Post, Oct. 13, 2000
Care lags for adult autistic, Greenwich Time, 1997
Elie Weisel - Auschwitz survivor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and founded Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity in 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In June 2009, Wiesel accompanied US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they toured Buchenwald.
The FAP is an Autism Education and Advocacy nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families - in particular those from financially struggling families.
Please see our Expanded Mission at ABOUT US > EXPANDED MISSION
FRENCH FARM FAMILY FEST, 23rd July, 2017
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A huge thank you to, Tommy & Dee Hilfiger, Berkowitz & Hanna Law Firm , Greenwich Magazine , Susan Kane Catering , Val's Putnam Wines , Olga Litvinenko, Miss CT USA 2017, Ben Zabin , Karen Morstad for their generosity and making the event a great success!
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