The Oklahoma Family Center for Autism has been renamed AutismOklahoma.org and a new website launched this week to provide enhanced community awareness and support for families affected by autism in Oklahoma. The number of children diagnosed with autism is increasing and isolation is a primary concern. The website will help families connect to each other and to their community.
The site can be found at www.AutismOklahoma.org and is the culmination of a 10-week effort in which the non-profit was renamed and rebranded from Oklahoma Family Center for Autism to AutismOklahoma.org. The group’s mascot, Dash, a red puzzle piece representing the puzzle of autism, will be featured in all programs. Dash is a friend to all kids with autism and has been a big hit with kids and their adults.
The organization was founded in Edmond in May 2002 when 2 families began a parent support group. Today, AutismOklahoma.org includes 5 parent support groups across Oklahoma including branches in Edmond, Canadian Valley, Stillwater, Oklahoma City, and Muskogee.
Each of these groups is led by a parent volunteer who has a child or family member with autism. The groups meet monthly and offer their own set of programs including childcare and social events for families. AutismOklahoma.org offers programs for teens, young adults, parents, and children, including Bee’s Knees, the College Group, and Teen 2 Teen.
The group’s autism awareness events include the PieceWalk & 5K, Drive for Autism, Raise Your Voice for Autism, and TeamAutism.org. Melinda Lauffenburger, Executive Director said the largest event, The PieceWalk, held annually in May, draws 5000+ people to the heart of Oklahoma City’s bricktown each year. The e-newsletter reaches 2100 families and professionals and nearly 2000 people have friended their facebook pages.
Lauffenburger said, "We are very excited to have a new name and website platform to help more families affected by autism."
"Our website would not exist without our “creative team” who donated hours of time to make this site come together. The team included world class illustrator, Jonathan Koelsch; amazing video producer and filmmaker, Zac Davis; master organizers and social media gurus Brandon Smith and Cristy Cash; website developers Stacie Stewart and Emily Garman of Oklahoma Media Group; and architect and dad, Michael Shuck! This group of amazing persons took us from “what should our name be?” to logos, URLs, gorgeous pictures, and an amazing website launch in 10 short weeks," Lauffenburger added.
AutismOklahoma.org is a parent-led organization which provides support for families affected by autism through parent support groups, educational and social programming, and positive encouragement for families.
Lauffenburger said there is also a Tulsa support organization for autism that can be found online by clicking here.