ACT Today! Partners with Ventura County, California Community Leaders in Effort to Raise Autism Awareness and Support

[Re-posted from original blog post dated Jan. 25, 2013]


ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism, is building support systems across the country to help families of children with autism access resources, care and treatment. ACT Today! kicked off the grassroots initiative in December at a private residence with an introductory meeting in Ventura County. The meeting saw 75 area residents in attendance and raised nearly $10,000. 

Mrs. Roberta Baptiste speaks during the meeting.

ACT Board member Dr. Eunice Viola (left) and Mrs. Virginia Viola (right)

The meeting was co-hosted by Mrs. Virginia Viola and Mrs. Roberta Baptiste and co-chaired by ACT Today!’s board members Dr. Eunice Viola, Mr. Shawn Carson and Mr. Greg Anderson.

ACT Executive Director Nancy Jackson ACT Boardmember Greg Anderson,  Ventura Deputy Mayor Cheryl Heitmann

“We want to infiltrate communities like Ventura County and provide information that can help the families become more empowered,” says ACT Today! board member Greg Anderson. “As a Ventura County resident, I know firsthand that the need is here, and across the country. If ACT Today! can provide insight to parents and caregivers of children with autism, then they will be able to take the next step which is identifying and getting the care and treatment their children need to reach their highest potential.”

Funds raised through the meeting will allow ACT Today! to provide direct help to children with autism, including grants for therapy, medical care, assistive technology, tuition to special needs schools, special needs camp, assistance dogs, assistance for military families of children with autism, social skills programs, and safety equipment (i.e. helmets and fencing).

Dora Ortiz and her son Dustin, an ACT Today! grant recipient, attended the meeting and told the audience how she had learned of the organization and how Dustin is now able to communicate more effectively with the iPad he received through the grant.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder,” says Deputy Mayor of Ventura Cheryl Heitmann, who spoke at the meeting. “Access to care and treatment is vital and grassroots meetings like these are necessary for families to learn how to take the necessary steps for getting their child assessed and treated.”

Studies show autism is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood AIDS combined.

To host an ACT Today! meeting in your community, contact

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