The Eagles Autism Foundation announced the recipients of their 2022 community grants this past Tuesday. The foundation, founded in 2018, will fund 20 studies this year: 5 pilot projects and 15 community projects addressing issues such as breaking down barriers to receiving healthcare, housing, and employment, gender identity, and creating wider access for underserved communities – including three projects from the Autism Institute. Read on for more information about these exciting projects!
Transition Pathways will be using their grant to launch an Advocacy and Advisory Council to help further prioritize and elevate autistic voices. They hope to the program will deepen and enhance their engagement with the autistic community and allow them to craft solutions to the challenges youth are facing in light of the pandemic. The project will provide paid opportunities for autistic youth to provide guidance, feedback, and input on school-to-work transition programs and services, as well as paying school-to-work program participants for their engagement in career development activities and internships.
Policy and Analytics Center
The Policy and Analytics Center (PAC) launched the Life on the Spectrum workshop series in 2021 with funding from an Eagles Autism Foundation Community Grant, which led to virtual workshops created by autistic individuals, for autistic individuals. With the 2022 grant, PAC will be focusing the 2022 Life on the Spectrum workshop series on aging autistic individuals. The content will be shaped by autistic individuals’ input, feedback from the previously funded workshop series, and data from the 2018 PA Autism Needs Assessment, and the Temple University Community Participation (TUCP) measure. Support from the Eagles Autism Foundation will be used to meet diverse language and accessibility needs of Philadelphians, including translation, interpretation, captioning services, and for participants’ time to develop and execute the series. While there is a Philadelphia focus on outreach, this virtual series will be shared locally, statewide, and nationally to maximize participation in the workshops.
Life on the Spectrum is designed to serve autistic individuals and the people that support them. As the focus of the content will be on aging, PAC will direct their outreach to organizations that support aging individuals, to ensure that the content speaks to their vision and needs. So that everyone is accessing this information equitably, the outreach and support efforts will be adapted to groups who serve immigrant populations, have computer and technology access challenges, as well as people facing literacy barriers. Mi-Yeet Wong of PAC notes, “It is critical that, broadly, communities be aware of these pressing concerns, resources, and opportunities that directly impact autistic adults.”
Life Course Outcomes
Hillary Steinberg, a postdoctoral researcher in the Life Course Outcomes Research Program received a grant for her project, “Gender Identity and Autism: A Community Service Development Project.” Her team’s project will be a collaboration with several community organizations serving transgender autistic Philadelphians. Steinberg said, “Queer and transgender autistic people of all ages are an important part of the Philadelphia community...Very little is known about this population and their needs...We will be focused on their experiences and opinions as we build research and programming to support them.” The project will include qualitative data collection, meaning that they will be asking queer and transgender people themselves what they need, and how they can be best supported in the community. The goal of the project is to publish research that will improve outcomes, such as mental health, with an eye on sustainability and creating resources. The funding will allow the team to compensate queer and transgender autistic participants, whose time and expertise are particularly valuable.