Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU to Host Events in Observance of Autism Awareness Month

BOCA RATON, FL (April 2, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University's Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) will host a series of events in observance of Autism Awareness Month in April.

Housed in the College of Education, CARD provides free support and services for people with autism and related disabilities, their families, schools and community agencies with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. Serving more than 2,600 families in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties, CARD has offices in Boca Raton and Port St. Lucie; and a staff of five clinicians. In addition to direct support for families and schools, FAU CARD provides workshops and training, hosts support groups, and helps foster community understanding of and better services for persons with autism and related disabilities. CARD also provides free developmental screenings in its new mobile screening clinic throughout its service region.


FAU CARD Display and Table
Tuesday, April 3, from 2 to 4 p.m.
FAU Student Services Breezeway
FAU Treasure Coast Campus
500 NW California Blvd., Port St. Lucie

Representatives from FAU CARD will staff a table in the breezeway to celebrate Autism Awareness Month and create awareness of FAU CARD on campus.


Family Connections Conference
Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lifelong Learning Center
FAU MacArthur Campus
5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter

FAU Card will host the sixth annual Family Connections conference for a day of learning and networking with parents, siblings, family members and individuals on the autism spectrum.  Topics for family sessions include "Getting a Community Organization to Include People with ASD," by Paul Thompson, pastor and parent of a child with ASD; "Question and Answer Session with Siblings," by Megan Allore, Sylvia Collazo and Jordan Tyrrel, siblings of individuals with ASD; and "Which Road is to be Taken?" by John Miller, M.A., teacher and adult with Asperger Syndrome.  The event is free, including lunch, and open to the public.  Registration is required.  To RSVP, contact 561-297-2055 or


2012 Treasure Coast Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Saturday, April 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Riverside Park
3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach

Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a family-friendly event to raise awareness and to fund vital research for autism spectrum disorder. FAU CARD will staff a vendor table to support the event and to share information about CARD services.  For more information, visit


PEERS Graduation
Tuesday, April 24, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
College of Education, Room 428, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus
**Media Attendance Only**

The first six graduates of the Program for the Education & Enhancement of Relationship Skills (PEERS), a collaboration between FAU's Communication Disorders Clinic and CARD, will celebrate with a party and graduation ceremony.  PEERS is a 14-week social skills treatment group where teens with diagnosed with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome learn how to make and keep friends.  PEERS is an evidence-based treatment program developed by the University of California Los Angeles, and this is the first time the program has been offered in Florida. Teens learn conversational skills, finding common interests, reciprocal conversation, non-verbal communication, electronic communication, safety, choosing friends, extracurricular activities, appropriate use of humor, potential friends and rejection, get-togethers, good sportsmanship, peer rejection, teasing and bullying, changing a bad reputation, and peer conflict.  PEERS includes a parent group so that parents can provide support and coaching to their teens. For more information about PEERS, contact Ali Cunningham at 561-297-4247 or


Third Annual Surfers for Autism of the Palm Beaches
Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ocean Cay Park
2188 Marcinski Road, Jupiter

Surfers for Autism's mission is to unlock the potential of people with developmental disabilities, support advocacy for autism issues, and raise funds for scientific research and autism-related charities.  At this event, autistic surfers are provided with a safe environment where two to four highly skilled and trained surf instructors carefully guide them into the waves.  FAU CARD will staff a vendor table to support the event and share information about CARD services. FAU CARD played a key role in getting a proclamation from the mayor and Town of Juno Beach for "Surfers for Autism Day," which will be presented at the event.  For more information, visit

For more information on all events, contact Ali Cunningham at 561-297-4247 or, or visit


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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