UM-NSU CARD Teams with AFAA to Launch Initiative Highlighting Programs for Adults with Autism

AFAA Applauds is a national recognition initiative highlighting the most promising support programs in the U.S. for adults living with autism spectrum disorders

(November 05, 2012) — Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), in collaboration with University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD), has launched AFAA Applauds, a national recognition initiative highlighting the most promising support programs in the U.S. for adults living with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). By spotlighting successful programs, AFAA plans to promote promising practices, innovative approaches, and awareness about ASDs and adult concerns.

“With more than 500,000 children with ASDs entering adulthood this decade, individuals and families impacted by the disorder are searching for more answers,” says UM-NSU CARD Executive Director Michael Alessandri. “We are today with adult concerns where we were 20 years ago with early intervention,” he added.

AFAA Applauds is designed to celebrate and encourage vocational, residential support, and community life programs. Community life includes social skills, transportation, recreational, safety, spirituality or other categories of service that improve life experiences and outcomes for those living with autism.

“We must foster enterprising and results-oriented programs in cities and towns across the U.S. that respond to the critical needs of this maturing population. It’s our collective responsibility to help increase their independence to the greatest degree possible and give individuals living with autism a chance to succeed at every age,” says Peter Bell, parent of a young adult with autism and executive vice president of programs and services for Autism Speaks, who also serves as an AFAA leadership council member.

Applications for AFAA Applauds will be reviewed by an expert panel. Up to six finalists will be selected with each finalist receiving up to a $5,000 grant for the development of a video and expanded program description to be developed according to AFAA guidelines and distributed on the AFAA website and other channels. Application criteria can be found online. The submission deadline is November 16.

UM-NSU CARD is an affiliate member of the AFAA Leadership Council serving the South Florida community. UM-NSU CARD is a state-funded resource and support program dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism and related disabilities including deaf-blindness and pervasive developmental disorders. For more information, please visit

AFAA is a national consortium of organizations working together, led by the vision of individuals with autism and their families, to promote a collaborative spirit and develop both public and private sector support that improve the lives of adults living with autism. AFAA Leadership Council and Affiliate Members are listed below. Please refer to the AFAA website for more information about AFAA and its member organizations:

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