How did you become involved with the autism community?

When our daughter was diagnosed as having autism at age 11 in 1981, there was not much information available.

We began searching for available resources. Through the local chapter of the Autism Society of America we met other parents and became aware of resources and information that was available at that time.

-Don Rowland

The USF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities engages in a variety of collaborative activities with families at many different levels. The CARD-USF Constituency Board is the most integral example of CARD's partnership with families. The Constituency Board is comprised entirely of parents of children withautism or a related disability. The primary purpose of the board is to guide the planning of staff activities and the development of center-related policies. The Constituency Board meets on a quarterly basis to review the progress of center activities and prepares an annual evaluation report of the center's accomplishments.

What one single piece of advice would you give parents who have a child with autism?

I would advise parents to acquire as much knowledge about autism as possible. Read everything you can find on the subject. If you have a computer, search for information about autism on the internet and talk to other parents who are in the same situation. Join a parent support group and/or the local chapter of the Autism Society of America. -Chuck Ohm

What does serving on the CARD Constituency Board mean to you personally?

Serving on the CARD constituency Board has given me the opportunity to meet and work with distinguished, highly qualified professionals in the field of autism, and dedicated, knowledgeable parents, all of whom are committed to improving the lives of people with autism. -Mary Ohm

Members of the CARD-USF Constituency Board for 1997-1998 include:

Richard Bashaw, Paula Cohen, Anne DiNapoli, William Nichols, Chuck Ohm, Mary Ohm-Secretary, Ann Reynolds-Vice Chairman, Anne Ritter, Donald Rowland-Chairman, Shere Schiller

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