Peek into any Wisconsin classroom and most likely you\u2019ll find at least one child with autism spectrum disorder. In many cases, no one will know, not even the parents. One in 71 eight-year-old children in Wisconsin were identified with autism spectrum disorder in 2014, and that number climbs every year. Early diagnosis is key to making sure they receive the best treatment, get the right education and thrive. For more than 40 years, the Autism Society of Southeast Wisconsin (ASSEW) has improved the lives of everyone affected by autism. They hold support groups for parents and fun events for kids and teens. They hold so many events, there\u2019s no reason for a teenager to say, \u201cI\u2019m bored!\u201d Why does ASSEW do so much? Things that seem normal to most of us\u2014music, lights and crowds\u2014can be too much for people on the spectrum and their families. ASSEW organizes events designed for youth on the spectrum. They\u2019re sensory friendly, safe places to have fun and make friends. Parents, meanwhile, need to learn about the condition and share their thoughts, feelings and experience with people who understand. ASSEW couldn\u2019t do any of this without Southeast Wisconsin\u2019s generous support. In 2018, ASSEW raised nearly $500,000 to support its programs and services. Only 5% of that money went to administrative costs. Here are just a few of the fun events ASSEW has in store. Sign up and join the fun! The 2020 Autism Gala For an elegant night out for a good cause, reserve your spot at the 2020 Autism Gala. Held Friday, June 19, 2020, at the Pfister Hotel Grand Ballroom, the night includes a silent and live auction, cocktail hour, dinner and a live band for dancing the night away. The fundraiser supports ASSEW\u2019s many teen programs. A few of those include: Concordia Teen Nights Teens on the spectrum hang out with Concordia University students on campus. They play board games, visit with friends, make new ones and munch on pizza and snacks. Teens on the spectrum are paired with a college student buddy to help them feel less anxious. Teen nights provide a friendly, relaxed social setting for teens to interact with each other and with \u201cregular\u201d college students\u2014without any parents around. \u201cConcordia is just a really good time to take a break from my studies,\u201d said Alex, a teen night participant. \u201cIt\u2019s also an outlet for some people who maybe don't have people to hang out with or who don\u2019t have the time to hang out.\u201d Medical College of Wisconsin Teen Nights Medical College of Wisconsin students who belong to the Friends For Special Needs group meet with ASSEW teens on campus for a fun night games and socializing. In addition to typical teen activities like board games and pizza, teens can visit booths where they can listen to their heart and lungs and participate in other medical-themed activities. Not only do the MCW teen nights provide another chance for kids to hang out, it also gives them a low-pressure way to get comfortable with medical professionals and experiences. Justin\u2019s Summer Teen Group It\u2019s hard to make new friends and fit in at any age. Teens on the spectrum have it even harder. Justin Hamilton, a special education teacher and counselor at Lakeland School in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, started a group to make it easier\u2014and fun! Each week, the group meets in a different spot, which helps them learn new skills and simply enjoy being out in the community. Typical group outings include bowling, laser tag, sports events, and game nights. Summer dates: Mondays, July 13 - August 17 and Wednesdays, July 15 - August 12. A-Team Run\/Walk Are you familiar with Dylan\u2019s Walk? For 19 years, Dylan\u2019s Walk has provided crucial support for ASSEW programs and services and helped provide awareness about autism in the Milwaukee area. ASSEW\u2019s new event, the A-Team Run\/Walk, carries on the tradition of outdoor fun for a good cause. Last year ASSEW had more than 1,000 walkers! It\u2019s one of the largest autism family gatherings in the state, and an amazing experience filled with activities, entertainment and celebration. Want to join your neighbors in 2020? Form a team or walk on your own. Sunday, September 13th, Greenfield Park, 8:30 a.m. I Can Bike Of course you can! The iCan Bike program teaches individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional, two-wheel bicycle and become lifelong independent riders. This achievement creates a gateway of opportunity, helping people gain confidence and self-reliance in many other aspects of their lives. Riders age 8 and up, including disabled individuals, are encouraged to attend iCan Bike camp. The program uses a fleet of adapted bicycles, a special instructional program and trained staff who teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a bike. Riders attend 75-minute sessions every day for five days. Volunteers provide physical assistance, encouragement and serve as spotters. Camp Dates: June 15-19, 2020. And that\u2019s not all! ASSEW is for everyone. In addition to events, the organization educates, supports and informs. Its reach includes the following: Help people find education, support groups, other autism-related programs and services and recreational\/social activities to get our families ready for the world and to get the world ready for them. Transition Series (TRAILS) classes help parents help their teens navigate life after high school. The five-class series discusses the transition between school and employment, adult services, and parent empowerment. Provide a supportive place where individuals on the spectrum, their families and others affected by autism can find help and guidance at any point in their lives. Support groups encourage individuals to come as they are and come as they can. A sense of community where people can find encouragement, comfort and companionship. Advocacy at the local and\/or state levels to implement changes so all those affected by autism experience an all-around better quality of life. Awareness and education through newsletters, speaker series, conferences, trainings and much more.