Dear Friends,

Spring has sprung and pollen is in the air! I hope you are enjoying this wonderful time of year.

CARD Staff, professionals, and families from throughout the State attended the 24th annual CARD Conference in Orlando this past January. The planning for the 25th annual CARD conference in St. Petersburg Beach, January 12-14, 2018, is under way. So mark your calendar and come enjoy the new location.

CARD Day at the Capitol was held March 30, 2017. We welcomed families and CARD staff from all over the state of Florida. Families had the opportunity to speak with their legislators to thank them for their continued support of CARD and highlight how CARD services have helped them.

The Autism Navigator® How-To Guide for Families is an amazing opportunity for our CARD families with children ages 1-5. We have given out over 20 free access codes and would love for more families to take advantage of this extraordinary online learning opportunity. Please see below for more information.

Our very own Allison Leatzow, and Susan Davis Baldino from VSA Florida, co-curated the Honest Visions: Artists and Autism exhibition at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA). The exhibition featured seven talented artists with autism who are also FSU CARD clients. Their art was on display from February 17-March 26, 2017. All seven of the artists were present for our reception on March 23rd and four of artists performed music, poetry or storytelling.

If you missed the exhibition at MoFA, don’t worry. We received over 30 entries for The Way I Speak: Artists and Autism art exhibition and juried competition. Works of art were received from CARD clients throughout the State. The exhibition will be showcased in the Florida 22nd Floor Capitol Gallery from May 2-July 31, 2017.

April is Autism Awareness month and it’s just around the corner. There are several exciting events, trainings, and news in the works. Something for everyone!

On April 10th in Pensacola, Dr. Josh Nadeau will be talking about anxiety and depression for individuals with autism. Visit our website for registration information.

We are excited about our new partnership with the FSU Soccer team and coaches. On April 22nd in Tallahassee, we will have our first annual Kickin’ it for Autism Soccer Clinic. It will take place at the FSU Soccer Complex from 10:00 am-12:00 pm. This soccer clinic is inclusive and open to athletes of all ages and experience level (beginner to advanced). See below for more information. Also, we still have a few sponsorship opportunities available for this event. If you are interested in learning more, please contact

On the horizon…

Our Summer Training Institute will again be held at the Goodwood Museum and Garden Carriage House Conference Center in Tallahassee June 19-22, 2017. Registration and scholarship information should be available by the end of April.

With summer just around the corner, we are starting to get calls about summer camps. Please see the article below by Taylor Fabrega about things to consider when choosing a summer program for your child.

We hope to see you at one of the upcoming events or trainings. Be on the lookout for a special April edition of our newsletter in honor of Autism Awareness month. As always, we welcome your feedback on what you need from FSU CARD or things you’d like to see in the future. Please send your thoughts to


Catherine Zenko, M.S., CCC-SLP

Director, FSU CARD

Upcoming Trainings/Events

Kickin’ it for Autism Soccer Clinic – With FSU Soccer Team & Coaches!
We are so excited to announce our 1st annual Kickin’ it for Autism Soccer Clinic with the FSU Soccer Team and Coaches! Join us on April 22nd from 10AM-12PM at the FSU Soccer Complex for an inclusive soccer clinic for athletes of all ages and experience (beginner to advanced). Everyone is welcome! Register early online for only $10 and guarantee your t-shirt size. Many thanks to Florida State Seminoles Soccer for hosting this event to promote Autism Awareness and support FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and the FSU Autism Institute!
Register >>

2017 Summer Training Institute on Autism
Our 2017 Summer Training Institute on Autism will be June 19-21 at Goodwood Museum & Garden Carriage House Conference Center, Tallahassee. Registration and brochure are coming soon.
When: June 19 – June 21, 2017
Where: Goodwood Museum & Gardens, 1600 Miccosukee Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32308
View Flyer >>

View All Upcoming Trainings >>

Community Spotlight & Monthly Features

Be Your Best Self (Tallahassee, FL)

Date: April 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: FSU CARD Office, 2312 Killearn Center Blvd., Building A, Tallahassee, FL 32300

Monthly meet-up for middle school CARD clients Join us to learn skills for health, happiness, and success! 

Flyer >>

PEPSA: Anxiety and Depression on the Autism Spectrum: Recognition, Assessment & Treatment (Pensacola, FL)

Date: April 10 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Marcus Point Baptist Church, 6205 North W Street, Building A, Room 106, Pensacola, FL
Register: Link

This presentation will provide training in methods for recognizing, assessing, and treating symptoms of anxiety and depression among youth and adults with ASD.

Flyer >>

Finish Strong! (Tallahassee & Marianna, FL)

Tallahassee Information: Link
Marianna Information: Link

It can be hard to stay focused this time of year! Join us to learn skills to help with self-regulation, organization, self-advocacy, and social situations.

Adult Social Group (Pensacola, FL)

Date: April 14 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: The Game Space, 91 Airport Boulevard, Pensacola, FL

The Adult Group is for CARD clients ages 18+ in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The group focuses on social and life skills including but not limited to interviewing skills, dating and relationships, budgeting, hygiene, self-advocacy, etc. The group most often meets in the community.

Flyer >>


Consultant Corner

Selecting a Summer Camp or Program for Your Child

By: Taylor Fabrega, CARD Consultant
School’s out for summer! Well, maybe not yet- but in only a matter of months, the final bell will be ringing to end another school year. Here’s a pop quiz for you, parents: what are your plans for your child this summer? Whether you need childcare during your work day or you are looking for an opportunity for your child to practice social skills, there are summer camps and programs springing up all over to meet your and their needs. Here are some things to keep in mind while doing your research:

  • Think about what you and your child want out of a summer program. Are they interested in developing their musical talent, or sharpening their sports skills? Do they need extra help academically to prepare for the next school year, or would they like to make friends through common interests?
  • Various organizations (including CARD!) may offer free or low-cost social skills groups and opportunities for clients to get together over the summer.
  • Check your local paper and online community forums for suggestions. Other parents might be able to give you some feedback on whether a program could be a good fit for your child based on their family’s experience.
  • Ask questions with program directors to determine if the camp will be safe for your child. Do staff members have background checks and first aid training? Will they know how to facilitate communication with your child or how to respond to a meltdown?
  • Regardless of the program that you pick, CARD can help prepare your child, staff members, and other campers for their best summer experience yet!

Honest Visions

By: Tammy Dasher, M.A., BCBA
Florida State University’s Autism Institute and Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) were proud to partner with VSA Florida to present Honest Visions: Artists and Autism. The exhibition, featuring artists meeting the challenges of autism, was on display at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts from February 17th through March 26th. Dr. Susan Baldino, VSA FL Regional Program Director, and Allison Leatzow, CARD Autism Consultant, curated the show.

The exhibition culminated in an evening reception with performances by several of the artists. The performances began with the audience moving to the gallery where artist Mikaela Sheldt’s larger-than-life pieces were displayed. Standing in front of her beautifully rendered paintings, Ms. Sheldt recited her original poems, “Oreo” and “Love.” Her passionate delivery expressing the experience of love from an autistic perspective had many audience members wiping away tears as they returned to their seats.

Isiah Taylor’s aircraft sculptures hanging from the gallery ceiling were a testament to his interest in planes and spaceships. He performed “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, a favorite song he admires for its references to the nighttime sky and its positive electronic vibes.

Mathieu Fredrickson gave a powerful reading of his original poem, “An Early Riser’s Walk.” The poem conveys his enjoyment in the moments of inspiration he finds when out walking as the sun is rising. Mr. Fredrickson stated that he writes poems because he likes to “take words and experiences and weave them together into a perfect marriage.”

Flutist Paul McAuliffe rounded out the evening’s entertainment, combining observations about his journey toward self-discovery with demonstrations on various ethnic flutes. After settling into a chair for his performance, Mr. McAuliffe delighted the crowd by playing his cane as if it were a flute! He went on to play several songs on his flutes, many of which he created himself, and offered encouragement to his “brothers and sisters in autism.” Mr. McAuliffe is the founder of the Bay County Adult Asperger’s Support Group and a member of the Bay Storytellers.

Attendees at the reception enjoyed light refreshments and the opportunity to mingle with the artists and performers.

CARD wishes to thank the museum staff for their efforts to help make the evening a success.

Artists featured in the exhibition were Mathieu Fredrickson, Madison Hongyee, Bailey Houghton, Paul McAuliffe, Crystal Scott, Mikaela Sheldt, and Isiah Taylor.

Back row (Left to right): Isiah Taylor, Mathieu Fredrickson, Mikaela Sheldt, Bailey Houghton, Paul McAuliffe, Crystal Scott
Front row (left to right): Allison Leatzow, Madison Hongyee, Susan Davis Baldino

Client Corner

FREE Autism Navigator How-To Guide for Families with Young Children
You must be registered with CARD and have a child between the ages of 2-5 (not yet enrolled in kindergarten) to get your FREE code for the Autism Navigator’s HOW-TO GUIDE.
Register >>

Client Forms

Referral/Intake Packets

Funding Request >>

Funding Applications >>

Annual Update >>

Health and Nutrition!

5 Strategies to Nourish a Teen Who Refuses to Eat Breakfast: U.S. News Article
When it comes to unhealthy eating at any age, teens may take the cake. Among other common dietary indiscretions, adolescents are often prone to late night noshing, excessive snacking and poor food choices.

One particular concern of note is that many teens start their day without a nutritious breakfast. In fact, research finds that by the time kids turn 13, about 20 to 30 percent have given up the morning meal, and about 60 percent of teens and young adults aged 18 to 24 years skip breakfast four times per week.

So what’s the big deal? Well, it turns out that breakfast is a pretty powerful meal, boasting several benefits for teens.. read more!


CARD Training Information

2017 Summer Training Institute on Autism – Florida State University, June 19-21, 2017, Tallahassee, FL 

PEPSA Anxiety and Depression on the Autism Spectrum: Recognizing, Assessment and Treatment – FSU CARD




Special Needs Registry for Emergency Management

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with each local emergency management agency in the state, developed a registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The registry also allows facilities that provide assistance to individuals with special needs a system to register. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies.

Click here to register >>