What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability. Children and adults with autism have differences with social communication/interaction and exhibit restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. There is a wide range of ability among people with autism. Some people with autism need significant levels of support to ensure their health and well-being while others do not. There is no known cause of autism and no singular form of assistance for autism.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 44 children in the United States today.

There is not one type of autism but many subtypes and most are influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. And because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

There are several factors which may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.

Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. 

The Cross Bearers Motorcycle Ministry, Inc. has supported this organization for over (6) years and continue to support Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV) because for over 40 years, the Autism Society of Central Virginia (ASCV) has served as one of the region’s premier sources of education, advocacy, services, and support for individuals with autism, their families and friends, and professionals.

The ASCV was founded by a group of parents who came together for support and to share information about how to best help their children with autism with their mission being to support, empower, and build connections for the local autism community.

The ASCV provides direct services and supports in the following counties and cities in Central Virginia: counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico; and the city of Richmond. The ASCV also serves the following counties and cities through member activities: Amelia, Dinwiddie, Goochland, King William, Louisa, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George; and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg.

Our Mission We support, empower, and build connections for our local autism community.

Our Vision A supportive and inclusive community where everyone impacted by autism is connected to high-quality support and resources.

Our Values Inclusive:  We are dedicated to identifying and reducing barriers to ensure everyone in our local community can access and benefit from our programs, services, and supports.

Compassionate:  We care deeply about listening to the voices and lived experiences of our community and creating meaningful opportunities that reflect the diversity of the autism spectrum.

Collaborative:  We believe in the power of working together with our community to create stronger and more comprehensive programming, resources, and connections.

Responsive:  We intentionally and creatively adapt our programming to meet the evolving needs of our local autism community.