The Autism Council of Utah (ACU) is an independent council working to foster collaboration, communication, and learning among families and agencies. Our aim is to promote access to resources and responsible information for individuals of all ages who have, or are affected by autism, or related conditions. The Council will accomplish this by supporting statewide partnerships to collaborate on special projects, research, and training.
The ACU has worked diligently since 2005 to establish an effective organization that can benefit Utah’s families and agencies. Although we are an independent council, we have support from the Governor as well as the executive departments of the State.
The ACU’s focus is on supporting other organizations and agencies, and maintaining and improving services and resources for people with autism throughout Utah. The membership of the ACU consists of a core group of parents and many professionals, organizations, and agencies across the State of Utah.
Some of our projects include:
- Sponsoring and co-sponsoring several autism conferences, trainings and workshops, most recently the Family Links Conferences, Autism and Faith Summit and Keeping it Safe: Managing Difficult Behaviors
- Representing ACU in several arenas such as the Utah Autism Initiative, Governor’s Commission for Early Childhood Development, DSPD Lifespan Respite Coalition, Special Care Advisory Board, Special Educator, pediatric grand rounds and the Utah Council for Exceptional Children (to name a few)
- Initiating special projects such as the Autism Specialty License Plate, DVDs such as Autism and Faith and Law Enforcement Training, as well as legislative education
We are excited about our continuing progress and achievements. We are always looking for new ways to partner with organizations, parents and others. You can join our efforts today by visiting our Membership page.
The leadership team of the ACU consists of parents and agency support, and meets monthly to direct and support the different committees. The annual ACU meeting is held in April where project status updates are given and updates are highlighted from the autism community.
Our current leadership team is:
- Laura Anderson ~ President
- Calleen Kenney ~ President Elect
- Cheryl Smith ~ Past President
- Teresa A. Cardon, PhD., CC-SLP ~ Agency Support
- Colin Kingsbury ~ Community Partner Representative, Agency Support
- Amy Stephenson ~ IT Specialist
- Jessica Kerr ~ Coordinator
The Autism Council of Utah is a parent initiated and run organization. One might wonder why we need all the different organizations that are out there. Don’t they all do the same thing? The answer is no. We need to get at autism problems and opportunities from many different angles. Some of the things that set the Autism Council apart from other organizations is that although we are a parent led Council, we have full support from the Governor and Executive Directors from the State. Many of our Council members are from agencies across the State, including the Health Department, Human Services, Medicaid, Office of Education, Valley and Wasatch Mental Health, Baby Watch, Division of Services for People with Disabilities, The Children’s Center, Easter Seals, Utah Autism Research, U of U, USU, UVU, and BYU, along with many dedicated parents.
Other contributing members represent the Autism Society, Autism Speaks, Autism Coalition, Utah Autism Initiative, and the National Autism Association on the Council. We want to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on in Utah, get the information out, support autism initiatives and programs, work at filling the gaps in services, and provide the opportunity for families to find resources. Think of what we can do together to make things better in our communities!