Dear Friends,
Spring has sprung!  We are starting to enjoy the beautiful weather and are gearing up for a very busy Autism Awareness/Acceptance month. This newsletter is filled with opportunities in the coming months for children, adults, families, and professionals.
We are thrilled to announce that our Kickin’ It for Autism Soccer Clinic with the FSU Soccer Team and Coaches will continue for the 6th year on April 23rd. Don’t forget to register early and take advantage of the $10 discounted price! Also, we still have room for a few more sponsors, so please reach out if you are interested. We hope to see you there!
We are honored to be a part of the inaugural AU-SOME Fest 2023 in Panama City, tomorrow, April 1, 2023. Come out and enjoy the festivities if you are in the area!
We have several opportunities for parents of children in elementary, middle, and high school with our Parents’ Place (online) series. Register today and join your peers as we learn together.
Professionals, register today for our 6-week (online) Book Study starting on Monday, April 3, 2023. We will be discussing Jessica Minahan’s book, The Behavior Code. We still have room for more and would love to have you join us online!
Everyone, please mark your calendars for the 2023 Summer Training Institute on Autism which will be June 13-15, 2023, via Zoom. We have a great lineup this year and registration will be opening soon via  
Our Consultant Corner has articles sharing information about Autism Language and Labels, Tips for Spring Cleaning, and a Tribute to Brad Burnette, one of our fierce autism advocates. 
Rounding out the newsletter is a list of the various ways to request services from FSU CARD, information about Baby Navigator, and a nutrition article about What you need to know about sensory food issues
We hope to see you at one of the many upcoming trainings or events where we look forward to spreading autism awareness and acceptance messages this April and every other month of the year!


April: Autism Acceptance Month

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month come out to the first annual Au-Some Fest. Festivities will include: Live music, food trucks, bounce houses, face painting, sensory room, Lego station, and informational booths.
Location: Parking Lot of 700 West 23rd Street, Panama City, Florida.

Parents’ Place for Middle School

With summer just around the corner, join as we discuss exercise, its benefits for mental and physical health, and ideas for getting our kids more involved. We will brainstorm how to make exercise fun and suggest strategies to motivate even the most reluctant movers.

Parents’ Place for High School and Young Adults

Join CARD Consultants for monthly meeting to discuss topics of interest for parents of high school students and young adults with ASD. April’s topic of discussion will be guardianship. Join us for an informative discussion with a legal expert specializing in guardianship.

Artists and Autism: A Kaleidoscope of Neurodiversity Exhibit Opening

Come celebrate the start of Autism Acceptance Month with FSU CARD, Arts4All Florida and the Leon County Main Library in April! There will be an exhibit featuring physical and digital artwork by artists throughout the Big Bend region. The exhibit’s opening on April 1st will run from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM, where you can chat with the artists and enjoy crafts for adults and children. Light refreshments will also be served. The exhibit will be on display until April 30.

You can also join in on the fun on April 7th from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM for the First Friday Kickoff in Railroad Square, (Tallahassee) where you will able to see artwork displayed at Able Artists Art Gallery and Obsessions Gift Shop. The pieces displayed at both galleries will be there until April 30.  

If you are unable to view any of the artwork in person, you can log onto the Leon County Library’s main website at to find a digital slideshow of each unique piece! 

Seatbelt Covers Available

Thanks to our partnership with Leon County Sheriff’s Office, we have seat belt covers for individuals with autism.

Requests from Leon county residents with autism will be given priority.

The Behavior Code Book Study
Please join us for an in-depth look at Jessica Minahan’s book The Behavior Code, starting MONDAY, April 3, 2023. 

We will be going chapter-by-chapter and looking at how to effectively implement the strategies outlined throughout the text. Participants will receive an electronic copy of the book for participating! 

2023 Summer Training Institute on Autism

Mark your calendars! 
The 2023 Summer Training Institute on Autism will be June 13-15, 2023 via Zoom. 
Registration will open soon.
Stay tuned to for more information. 

Resume and Employment Guide for People With Disabilities

This article from Resume Builder offers helpful tips to people with disabilities who are currently seeking employment. 

Communication Corner

By: Audra Burch

What Do I Say? Autism Language and Labels

With April being Autism Acceptance Month, it’s important to consider the best language to use when speaking and interacting with an autistic person.

There are differing opinions and positions on autism language, specifically whether to use person-first language or identity-first language. Person-first language is a way of referring to people with any disability, recognizing that people with disabilities are human first. For
example, instead of saying an autistic student, person-first language would say a student with autism. Identity-first language leads with a person’s diagnosis, such as being a “disabled person”.
Although person-first language is frequently used by professionals and parents, this practice has received criticism from self-advocates and scholars who believe that identity-defining features, such as autism, can’t be separated from a person.
Thoughts behind the use of person-first language include that it helps to ensure people with disabilities are treated with the same respect as people without disabilities. However, this type of language can be viewed as treating a disability like having a disease or illness.
Conversely, identity-first language conveys that a disability is permanent and important part of a person’s identity. The Blind, Deaf, and Autistic communities see their disabilities as being fundamental parts of who they are, and in turn, identity-first language promotes positive cultural identity. Drawbacks to using identify-first language include this type of language may cause others to think a person’s disability completely defines who they are.
Recent research in the US and other countries, like the UK and Australia, agree that as a
whole, autistic adults prefer identity-first language terms (“autistic person”) to refer to
themselves or others with autism, yet professionals who work in the autism community are more likely to support and use person-first language (“person with autism”).
However, within the research and debate on whether to use person-first language or
identity-first language, the phrase that seems the least objectionable to each side is “a
person on the spectrum.”
Overall, it’s important to acknowledge others’ personal preferences and individual rights to
decide how they’re described. It’s best to ask each individual which language they prefer.

References: “Autism Language: Person-first or Identity-first?” Autism Parenting Magazine, 22 Jun. 2021, Accessed 29
Mar. 2023.
“Ask a Self-Advocate: The Pros and Cons of Person-First and Identity-First Language.”
Massachusetts Advocates for Children, 23 Apr. 2023,
advocate-the-pros-and-cons-of-person-first-and-identity-first-language. Accessed 29 Mar.
“What Label Do People on the Autism Spectrum Prefer?” All Psych, 2 Mar. 2020. Accessed 29
Mar. 2023.

Spring Cleaning Strategies

By: Crystal Grey-Hewett

Spring is a great time to work on cleaning and housekeeping skills. It’s a natural tendency to want to use the change of seasons to clean up the environment and make it more beautiful, and we can also use this time to teach and reinforce the activities of daily living that will follow us and our children the rest of our lives.
Here are some spring cleaning tips to work on with your kids:
  1. Pick up 5-10 things per day in your room and put them where they belong. It will reinforce a routine and not feel overwhelming.
  2. Use the “Match It” strategy. Take a photo of a clean and organized environment and tell the person to make the room match the photo.
  3. Use a printed room-by-room checklist that tells the person exactly what they are expected to do.  
  4. Use the time to focus on heavy work exercises, such as pushing a vacuum cleaner and dragging a laundry basket.
  5. Label certain spaces by their function. You can find very cute signs or make your own as an activity. 

Brad Burnette Tribute

By: Debi Cassidy

On February 28, 2023, the regional autism community lost one of its most ardent advocates. Brad Burnette was the president of Autism Spectrum of the Emerald Coast, and was one of the founders of the EMERGE group for young adults on the autism spectrum.
In his work with these organizations, he performed extraordinary and creative acts of altruism and advocacy, and took great joy and pride in the people he worked with and their accomplishments. He was also the president of and a proud coach for the Niceville Challenger League.

He is survived by his wife and five children, as well as various family members, friends, and the autism community at large. Although we will miss him, we at FSU CARD feel confident that the good work that he began will continue and flourish for years to come.

If you would like to support Brad’s family, a GoFundMe link is below.

What You Need to Know About Sensory Food Issues

By: Regina Parsons-Allen

“Sight, smell, taste, and touch are some of the contributing factors to a child’s sensory food issues. How it looks, smells, the consistency/texture of the food, and the way it feels on the fingers or utensils can make a child/learner feel uneasy, uncomfortable, and unwilling to try. Children and older learners struggling with sensory issues with food, are often lacking a good variety of foods that contain proper nutrition for their health and development.”

How do I Request Assistance from FSU CARD?
Visit the FAQs Section on our website or
click on the buttons below.

Share with CARD

FSU CARD is continuously looking for clients who would like to share their art, writing pieces, or success stories in our quarterly newsletter. If you are interested in sharing for our next issue, please send a message and image electronically to FSU CARD ([email protected]). All art or writing pieces should be titled. Select submissions will be chosen for each edition of the newsletter; artists and authors will be notified if their article is chosen.

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