The UCF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities recently received a gift of $150,000 from Providing Autism Links & Supports(PALS).
UCF CARD is one of seven regional resource centers established by the State of Florida to support those with autism spectrum disorder and their families. UCF CARD serves more than 15,000 individuals and families of all ages across Orange, Lake, Osceola, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia and Seminole counties.
In addition to providing no-cost, comprehensive services, UCF CARD also partners with businesses and other organizations to help create a more welcoming community for those with ASD and their families.
“Autism affects everyone in the family,” said Terri Daly, director of UCF CARD. “Not just socially, but also economically.
Daly says that raising children with ASD can cost substantially more than raising a typically-developing child due to increased healthcare expenses, special education services and additional caregiver costs.
To help assist UCF CARD with its mission, PALS, a registered 501c3, that provides inclusive community programs for those with ASD, has donated $150,000 to UCF CARD. PALS supporters include parents of children with ASD as well as people from area businesses.
Brian Moore, a PALS board member, became involved with UCF CARD because he was inspired by the work it was doing.
“UCF CARD does so much with their limited resources, and we wanted to help them do more,” Moore said.
Daly said the gift will be used to add staff to meet increasing demand for services in the community. “The number of individuals and families we support has grown by an additional 1,038 since July 2019.”
“We always want to provide help that is timely and helps the community we serve achieve outcomes that are significant to them,” Daly said. “With this gift from our wonderful partner PALS, we can continue to offer programs that focus on supporting behavior, communication and socialization needs for people with ASD and their families. We are so grateful for this opportunity.”