The origins of the Autism Coalition go back to 2008 when Dr. Isaac Pope of Pope’s Kids Place initiated a pediatric health project addressing the needs of children on the autism spectrum. This initial work led the state Department of Health to identify Lewis County as a pilot Community Asset Mapping (CAM) project. CAM invited a couple dozen Lewis County stakeholders from public schools, early intervention, pediatric medicine, Head Start/ECEAP, United Way, Centralia College and others to participate in a half day meeting on February 16, 2010 to map community assets.
Since that date the coalition has produced road maps of autism resources for parents and providers, conducted community trainings for health care, child care and public school professionals; hosted five Autism Awareness conferences, developed a school-medical protocol utilized by the coalition’s SMART team and sponsored a summer program for children on the autism spectrum. Ongoing support has come from Lewis County Social Services and Developmental Disabilities, the United Way of Lewis County, the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, the Kids Connect Charitable Fund, TransAlta and the Foundation for Early Learning.
The coalition has developed a strategic plan to guide its work from 2013 to 2015.