Autism Society of North Louisiana raising awareness about resources available

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
Courtesy: KNOE 8 News(KNOE)
Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 4:52 AM CDT
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The Autism Society of North Louisiana (ASNLA) recently formed, and their goal is to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by Autism across their lifespan.

"It's important to have a chapter here to that helps connect families with other families to improve those connections and to connect them with area resources," says Kristin Mardis, Autism Society of Northeast Louisiana.

Mardis is with the organization and says Family Night at Enoch's is now open to people of all ages (up until 8 p.m.) for lunch and dinner. On Wednesday, October 23rd from 5 pm until 8 pm, the group is hosting their Autism Friendly Family dining event at Enoch’s.

The purpose of their Autism Friendly Family dining day is to connect the community and give families a place for judgment-free dining. They say they’ll also have sensory activities for those who want to participate.

The ASNLA says they plan to do community outreach, educational/training opportunities for parents, educators and community members, legislative advocacy, resource mapping, community connections, and more.

“Each and every person in the ASNLA is extremely driven to accomplish these things because we have all (either personally or professionally) experienced the effects of our area lacking in these areas. Don’t get me wrong; North Louisiana has come a long way, but there is still work to do. Our community has been unbelievably supportive and we are so thankful for this response,” says Mardis.

Mardis says the group started with a small number of parents and providers and now it’s developed into a large committee with volunteers.

Some of their goals here locally are to create ‘Calming Corners’ at festivals and events. Large events can become an overwhelming experience for someone with Autism.

The group says they wanted to provide a ‘safe space’ where individuals could come, take advantage of the sensory (soothing) activities and rest in a more calming environment if needed.

The ASNLA also says they want to create ‘Connect Groups’, which will foster connections between families impacted by Autism across the area. They say the ‘Connect Groups’ for individuals are specific to the age groups, but parent groups are for parents with children with Autism of all ages. With these groups, the ASNLA says they hope to lessen the isolation that families sometimes feel when they don’t have others that they can relate to.

Upcoming Events:

October 23rd: Autism Friendly Family dining event at Enoch’s from 5 pm to 8 pm.

November 16th: Sensory Day at the Masur Museum.

November 23rd: Calming Corner at Santa Stop in West Monroe.

November 26th: Iron Cactus Dine and Donate Fundraiser.

December 21st: Applebee's Flapjack Fundraiser.