Thoughts on Autism Acceptance Month from ICAC Co-Founder, Jessie Witherell


Thoughts on Autism Acceptance Month from ICAC Co-Founder, Jessie Witherell

April is “Autism Awareness Month” and during this time many organizations, including The Iowa City Autism Community, tend to become more active and turn up the volume on our advocacy. But for people on the autism spectrum, it is difficult to endure a public conversation about autism without truly being invited to be a part of it. That is why we feel that any autism campaign or event should always include positive, accurate information and should ensure that individuals on the spectrum know that they are a valued and accepted part of the community.

Learn more about the differences between autism acceptance and autism awareness and why ICAC chooses and encourages others to use certain imagery (such as the infinity symbol) and language by reading these perspectives written by advocates on the autism spectrum –

Happy Autism Acceptance month!


Thank You to Our Families and Community Partners – Spring Break 2019

Thank you to everyone who attended our Spring Break 2019 Activity Line Up and to our amazing community partners who made everything possible! We had a hands-on visit with animals from the Blank Park Zoo, a presentation on reptiles by The Grout Museum, an open gym at the Iowa GymNest, painting and an indoor snowball fight at the Iowa City Public Library as well as an autism-friendly yoga class taught by Erin Sehorn Silva from The North Liberty Library. We will announce more spring activities soon!

Sponsors Needed For First Annual Iowa City Autism Fun Walk!

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In addition to VOLUNTEERS and WALKERS, we are looking for SPONSORS for the first annual Iowa City Autism Fun Walk, which will be benefiting ICAC, the UIHC Autism Center and the Autism Center of Iowa. Do you or a family member own a business? Do you work at a business? Would they be interested in becoming a sponsor for this event? Entry starts at $100, which is very accessible and gets a logo on the back of our t-shirt! Please comment below or contact Dina Bishara ASAP –

College Scholarships Available From The Autism Society of Iowa

College Scholarships

The Autism Society of Iowa has four different college scholarship opportunities:

The deadline for all four college scholarships is March 15.  If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, click on the link below:

College Scholarship Application


Zach Paulsen

1.  The Zach Paulsen Memorial Scholarship For Students With Autism Disorders

Zachary Paulsen was born with a desire to know how things worked. He loved to know how things were put together and why they worked. He loved to repair bicycles, lawn mowers, snow blowers, and motors of any kind. He also “loved” tools.

Zach graduated and received a degree from WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming in Diesel Technology. His desire was to work with large machinery.

Zach’s life was cut short at the age of 21 but all that knew him would agree that he could go anywhere he wanted with his amazing ability to repair just about anything.

THIS SCHOLARSHIP IS DESIGNED FOR STUDENTS WITH THE DESIRE TO STUDY in Ag Power Technology, Automotive Technology, Civil and Construction Engineering Technology, CNC Machinery and Tool Making, Collision Refinishing, Construction and Design, Diesel Truck Technology, Electrician Fields, Heating and Air Conditioning, HVAC or Plumbing & Heating Fields, Industrial Automation Technology, Landscape and Turf Management, Marine Technology, Motorcycle Technology, Welding Technology

Autism_Awareness_Ribbon2.  A scholarship for a student who resides in Iowa, who is on the autism spectrum – For a student, who resides in Iowa, who is on the autism spectrum to attend a post-secondary school.



Sue Baker

3.  The Sue Baker Memorial Scholarship – For a student, who resides in Iowa, who will work in the field of autism upon completion of their post-secondary education.





Clarice & Robert Burkgren

  4.  The Robert and Clarice Burkgren Honorable Scholarship – For an existing college or graduate student,who resides in Iowa, who is currently in a field of study to assist those with autism spectrum disorders upon graduation, or is currently working in the field while obtaining an advanced degree.

Conference Scholarships

Scholarships are available for those on the autism spectrum and family members, based on need, to attend ASI conferences. To apply, click on the link below:

Scholarship Form for ASI Conferences

Calm Kits Have Been Delivered! PLUS Instructions to Make YOUR OWN Calm Kit.

A huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who came out to help assemble “Calm Kits” and sew weighted lap blankets! These kits were put together with generous donations from the community and were distributed to eight local Iowa City Schools with the highest financial need – Hills, Alexander, Lucas, Hoover, Grant Wood, Kirkwood, Horn, and Twain. The purpose of these kits is to provide helpful calming tools to neurodivergent students and children who have sensory issues. Each kit contained a weighted lap pad, noise cancelling headphones, visual supports for identifying and regulating emotions, and other sensory items that address varying sensory needs. These items were recommended by the GWAEA Autism Consultants, who advised us on the project. We are grateful to the Daily Iowan for covering this story as well as CBS2/Fox28 who featured our project on their station. We plan on doing this again in the fall, so stay tuned!

Calm Kit and Weighted Blanket Sewing Party


Volunteers hard at work! 


Delivery of Calm Kits to ICCSD Schools


Recipients of kits at Hoover, Twain and Alexander!



Make your own!

If you are interested in making a calm kit for an individual student, here is a list of the items we included in ours. You, of course, can tailor and swap out items as needed.




Or make your own weighted blanket! This was very similar to the process we used –
Visual Supports – 5pointscale