Autism Family Support Project

The Real Faces of Autism

Autism does not have just one face, or one behavior. Today 1 in 68 individuals are diagnosed with autism, making it one of the most common disorders in children.
Children with autism can …

  • lack an interest in social engagement
  • show a strong preference for routine and rituals and react strongly to changes
  • hand-lead instead of point to get what they want
  • lack age-appropriate language skills or have noticeable language losses
  • are hypersensitive to sounds, touch, textures of clothing and/or foods
  • seem to have a hearing problem, often not responding to their name or noises
  • have serious reactions to certain foods and chronic diarrhea or constipation

It’s not that children with autism do not relate to others, it’s that they do so differently than other children. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child. If your child exhibits any of the above behaviors or you feel that something is not right, ask questions, trust your instincts. Autism can be helped and early intervention yields the best outcomes.

How We Support Families

Family Night Out

Family Night Out incorporates the entire family. We provide activities for children with autism, typically developing siblings and parents in a safe and encouraging environment that will allow families to interact with and support other families living with autism. Family Night Out is held throughout the Contra Costa community with such events as bowling, playing at a gymnastics studio, going to the movies, or at an outdoor picnic at We Care.

IEP Clinics

Our Individualized Education Program (IEP) Clinics provide parents of children with autism the skills and tools they need to navigate this important process.  Every child with special needs has the right to an effective and customized IEP with their school district and it is crucial that parents are well informed of their rights and obligations so that their child receives the services he or she needs to thrive.  During our clinics, parents are walked through real-life scenarios and coached on addressing their child’s specific needs.

Who We Serve

Families with a child with any autism spectrum disorder, up to age 7, are encouraged to participate. There is no cost to join the AFSP. Many events are free of charge, some have a nominal fee.

For more information, contact Darcie Azzolini (925) 671-0777, ext 226 or

What Parents Are Saying

“My son sat through the entire movie which he has never done before. It brought tears to my eyes knowing that we could go see a movie in a safe environment where everyone at the movie theater understood and did not give you any strange looks. A huge thank you to AFSP for making this event possible. Without AFSP our family would never be able to go to the movies.”

“Thank you and thanks to “We Care Autism Family Support Project.” This was the first time we have taken our son to a movie. I was not sure how he would do, but it went so well. We appreciate this event so very much, it was not stressful, as I knew that the other parents would understand if he didn’t want to sit or stay quiet…We plan to take him again for another movie in the future.”

“I have attended several parent education events sponsored by the AFSP that have dramatically increased my knowledge and confidence and have enabled me to more effectively advocate for my child. The variety of programs offered provides accessible and applicable information to much appreciative parents.”

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you so much for all the information and services you provide. It is so helpful to me as a parent to be able to get such information I wouldn’t ordinarily come across. Thank you for all you do!”

“We all had a great time at the baseball game last month. It was the first visit to a big ball park and a pro ball game for my two boys. We were able to have that experience thanks to your work and to AFSP. It was greatly appreciated!”

For more information, contact Darcie Azzolini (925) 671-0777, ext 226 or

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