With April being autism awareness month, one local woman is pushing to raise awareness and funds for a learning academy farm that would benefit adults with autism.
"Children with autism become adults with autism and they still have autism and their services suddenly stop when school comes to an end."
Brita Darany von Regensburg is the president and founder of Friends for Autistic People, a non profit organization, otherwise known as FAP, which works with local legislators, doctors and activists to spread awareness on young adults with autism. She says once children with autism turn 21 virtually all services provided to them are cut off.
"I just said I had to raise awareness," said Regensburg. "I wanted the word to get out, to the newspapers, to organizations in this town."
After realizing her autistic daughter suffered mistreatment in local group home, she decided to take a stand in 1997. Since then Regensburg has been working with her husband from home to gain local and national awareness.
"I had to start it," she said. "I was really angry about how my daughter was treated and I turned this thing around and made it into an autism awareness movement and advocacy organization."
She tells us the Farm Living and Learning Academy Village will be a 20 acre organic farm in Newtown with crops and animals, that will support 20 resident student farmers and 20 to 30 day program participants. Regensburg says the village will offer residential life with instruction and administrative buildings to support autism therapies and a positive learning environment.
FAP has received support from celebrities like Judge Judy, autism activist Temple Grandin, and other leading doctors from around the area. Regensburg says so far FAP has raised $200,000 out of $2 million needed for the project.
"They're very happy and they have purposeful lives and they learn skills that are meaningful according to their interests and talents," said Regensburg.
For more information on the organization visit http://autisticadults.com.