ASDNext: Who are we really?
While we consistently share blogs and resources each week, we’re worried you might have forgotten the roots of our initiative and who we really are. It is important that everyone is aware of the support that we offer. As well as understand that we’re here to help those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) transition through different periods of their lives by providing streamlined access to information. Hopefully this blog will shed some light on this dilemma and act as a refresher.
ASDNext is an initiative part of Pennsylvania’s Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative, also known as ASERT. We exist because the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) knew that it was necessary to support individuals with autism and their families throughout the Commonwealth separate from the support offered for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It’s important to note that here at ASDNext and ASERT, we use the term ‘autism’ to refer to all autism spectrum disorders. In some sections of our website, language has been adopted directly from self-advocacy groups in order to use language preferred by self-advocates.
For young individuals with autism, it can be extremely difficult to transition into adulthood. Adulthood can mean looking for a job, living independently, building a social life outside of school, or simply doing everyday tasks, etc. This is especially true as the support they received through school-age years is no longer available. Adult service systems are either not well known or even equipped enough to truly support those with autism. That’s why we have made it our goal to fill the gap and make the transition to adulthood a little easier by connecting individuals to others with shared experiences and providing resources, information, and support.
In 2023, after seven years of existing, ASDNext is looking to go beyond what we’ve done in the past and set new goals. This year we’re focusing on growing our social media channels and helping those with ASD expand their communities more by making them aware of upcoming events, organizations, support groups, and other individuals with shared experiences/interests. There will be a shift in some of the resources that we share online, making sure we focus on not only what our followers need but also what they want to hear about. We plan on growing our own team to enhance our website by making it even more accessible and easy to navigate. ASDNext will continue to provide resources until everyone in Pennsylvania knows what’s available to them as well as work closely with self-advocates. They help write blogs for our website and share stories about what it’s like to be an adult on the spectrum and navigate through life in hopes that others can find comfort and relate.
Our aim is to reach an audience of autistic individuals and their families of ALL ages and backgrounds throughout the state. We understand the difficulty in trying do every day things in a fairly inaccessible world and are trying our best to make it more accessible one resource at a time! ASDNext is not only a place to learn new information, but also a safe place to make new connections, ask questions, and share your thoughts and ideas for our future content.
You can send us a direct message on Facebook (ASERT ASDNext) and Instagram (@asert_asdnext), email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), or fill out the Contact Us form on our website (www.asdnext.org/contact-us/). We’re also looking for more self-advocates to help us write blogs. If you think you’re interested, whether you have only one or twenty ideas, reach out to us to join our team!
If you learned something new today make sure to tell your friends and anyone you can about ASDNext. Not everyone needs the support we provide but reaching at least one individual would still mean we’re making a difference!