Judson Center to Bring Autism to Light During Month of April

English Gardens again lends it support for blue light effort; a variety of awareness initiatives, including Facebook Live event, plus expansion of autism services in Warren, are underway

Judson Center, a multi-county human service agency providing autism programs, behavioral health services, child and family services including foster care and adoption in tandem with its affiliate, Child Safe Michigan, along with employment services for the disabled, and primary care for all ages, will Bring Autism to Light (#Autism2Light) in April, during national autism awareness month, with a variety of community-driven opportunities to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the many services available to individuals and families living with an autism diagnosis. Currently one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; in Michigan, there are over 50,000 individuals living with ASD.

The most visible sign of Judson Center’s Bring Autism to Light campaign will be at their Royal Oak campus, which will shine bright in blue from dusk to dawn for the entire month of April, thanks to a donation from English Gardens, which has supported Judson Center’s annual April effort since 2016.

“English Gardens is proud to partner with Judson Center to help shine a light on autism,” said Rick Vespa, president of English Gardens Landscape Company. “Judson Center has been at the forefront of raising awareness and providing services for children and families affected by autism. The light display is a great way to raise awareness and help foster community participation.”

  • To share in the mission to Bring Autism to Light, the community is invited to stop by Judson Center in Royal Oak or visit any of Royal Oak’s three fire stations to pick up a free LED blue lightbulb for their front porch. Companies are also encouraged to participate and Bring Autism to Light by shining blue for autism, designating a day to wear blue for autism awareness and donating to Judson Center’s Autism Connections.
  • New this year, Judson Center also hosted a Facebook Live session titled Autism: Bridging the Gap on Thursday, April 11. Bridging the Gap provided viewers with the opportunity to communicate live with Judson Center’s Frankie Groce, director of Autism Connections, and Brad Ewing, director of Disability Services, to learn about the services available for individuals and families with autism, to connect with community resources and to learn tips on avoiding the “cliff” for young adults. “The cliff” refers to individuals with autism who age out of the state education system at age 26 yet need services and opportunities to remain engaged in life and learning, whether through a job, a volunteer position or an organized group activity setting. The Facebook Live session is also available to be viewed on Judson Center’s main Facebook page.

Also partnering with Judson Center to Bring Autism to Light in the month of April is the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor, in support of Judson Center’s Ann Arbor facility.

“Over the past three years, the city of Royal Oak and Judson Center have joined together to Bring Autism to Light in our community,” said Royal Oak Mayor Mike Fournier. “The Bring Autism to Light campaign is vital in educating our community on the services and programs put in place for families and children with autism.”

Judson Center CEO and President Lenora Hardy-Foster expressed her organization’s appreciation for its many supporters.

“We are so grateful to English Gardens, the City of Royal Oak, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor and all of the community partners who understand the need to Bring Autism to Light,” Hardy-Foster said. “The need for autism services and support continues to increase annually and we are responding as quickly and as comprehensively as we can. Yet we also need dialogue and acceptance for people impacted by autism. Community-wide efforts present the opportunity to make a personal connection with autism.”

Since 2005, Judson Center’s Autism Connections program has been providing comprehensive services to the entire family affected by autism. Autism services are offered in three Judson Center locations: Ann Arbor, Royal Oak and Warren. Construction is currently underway in Judson Center’s Warren location to add 4,000 additional square feet of space dedicated solely to autism services. That space is slated to open by the end of April.

For more information on how to get involved in Bring Autism to Light, visit www.judsoncenter.org or contact Kayla Collins at 248-837-2007 or kayla_collins@judsoncenter.org.  For more information on autism programming, email autism@judsoncenter.org.

About Judson Center

Judson Center is a nonprofit human service agency that provides expert, comprehensive services in southeast Michigan that strengthen children, adults and families affected by abuse and neglect, autism, developmental disabilities and behavioral health and primary care challenges so they are successful in their communities. Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of over 10,000 children, adults and families each year. Judson Center has five regional offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 4410 W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073.  Learn more at https://www.judsoncenter.org/.