About Autism Up

How We Started

Established in 2004, AutismUp (formerly known as UNYFEAT) is the leading not-for-profit autism support organization for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and their families, in the Greater Rochester and surrounding areas.

It all started with four moms in a coffee shop, talking late into the night about interventions they were using to help their kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As with many parents who receive a diagnosis of ASD for their child, they were looking for support. These moms would find out from each other different programs and therapies that were available for their children, locally and nationally. They quickly realized that if they hadn't found each other and begun to share this information, where would they have gone to get it? There was a gigantic gap in available resources, access to support and information and a total lack of communication about the rising autism epidemic locally, and nationally.

These moms also needed to talk. They needed to speak of the struggles they experienced every day in raising a child with ASD. They formed a bond over their shared experiences - experiences that could serve to help others as they became the local pioneers.

And thus it began. The four moms in the coffee shop rallied other autism moms, and AutismUp held its kick-off meeting in September 2004. AutismUp hoped to help channel information to families, as well as to further expand the opportunities for children with ASD. AutismUp would be the first organization in the area to provide emotional support to parents; opportunities to share with other families; and social opportunities for kids with autism, their parents, siblings, and the entire family.

Today, AutismUp is the leading, local autism support organization focused on expanding and enhancing opportunities to improve quality of life for those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

AutismUp aims to provide support to all individuals with autism across the ages - support for families and children with autism that grow up into adults with autism. AutismUp aims to reach new heights in everything we do - autism awareness, advocacy, education, direct programming and support. Everyday, we support over 3,300 families in the Greater Rochester and surrounding areas - 3,300 of the 1 in 39 diagnosed with autism. Providing help for today, and hope for tomorrow.

AutismUp is anchored by three guiding principles:

  1. Support ... for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, and their families.
  2. Opportunity ... to develop social, sensory, readiness, fitness and recreation skills through customized education programs.
  3. Success ... our goal is to promote personal success at every age and ability.

Autism rates continue to rise. The need for support continues to grow, and so does our membership. Individuals with autism continue to grow, and AutismUp will continue to provide support and grow with children and families, from diagnosis on up through childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

The community must embrace individuals with autism as friends, neighbors and co-workers. AutismUp will help.

We will expand and enhance programs and support services aligned with the progression of a family and individual with ASD through various life stages. This approach will serve to build skills and abilities, utilizing special interests and open up opportunities progressively as one grows and supports our vision for the future.

Our vision is to be the premier model of community support and inclusion for individuals with autism.


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