Autism Society of Oregon Autism Society of Oregon on Facebook

Oregon Chapter

ASO in the News


ASO IS HIRING! We need a new Programs Coordinator at our office in SW Portland.

Hours: 20 hours per week, with possibility of increased hours (with at least 4 hours per workday and during typical work hours, with occasional evenings and weekends prescheduled)

Pay: DOE


•Must be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel

•Must have friendly and positive phone manner

•Demonstrate basic understanding about autism desired

•Experience in the coordination of services desired

•Experience with event planning and management desired

General Summary of Position:  
The Programs Coordinator is the primary contact for the Autism Society of Oregon (ASO) via telephone, email, social media, and related communications. The person in this position coordinates the implementation of all programs provided by ASO.

Principal Duties:  
The Program Coordinator shall:

•Implement routine programs and activities of the Autism Society of Oregon (ASO)

•Follow guidelines for maintaining official records and documents while ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local regulations under supervision and training of the ED

•Maintain a working knowledge of resources available to and for individuals and families in our local communities; AND 
•Duties as assigned by ED and as necessary to meet ASO’s mission

If Interested, please send a resume and short cover letter to the Autism Society of Oregon
or fax to: 503-244-5506, marked ATTN: Autism Society of Oregon.
Please, no phone calls


Nov 8, 2015: On KATU news: "West Linn teen develops 'Word A Day' app." (link

Kudos to Ethan Arterberry, son of Camp Yakety Yak founder Angela Johnson Arterberry (a beneficiary of ASO camp funding), on this amazing accomplishment!

WingsforAutismPDX.PNG  Sept 24, 2015: ASO's "Wings for Autism" day at Portland International Airport attracted attention from     The Oregonian and The Coumbian newspapers:

  "Wings for Autism lands at Portland International Airport to help families practice air travel" (link) by     Amy Wang, The Oregonian/OregonLive

  Wings for Autism - phoots (link) by The Columbian.

For more photos of the event, please see the "Wings for Autism" photo album on the ASO Facebook page: link

May 11, 2015: Statement from ASO regarding removal of family from United Airlines flight.

Puzzle_piece_ribbon_explanation.jpg  Recently, the family of a 15 year old girl on the autism spectrum was removed from a flight after the pilots made an unscheduled     landing in Salt Lake City en route to Portland, reportedly due to her behaviors. Interviews with other passengers included support     for her and her family, as well as quotes which saw this girl as a threat and considered her behaviors to be a sign that she was       capable of taking dangerous actions. The Autism Society of Oregon (ASO) believes that, wit
h greater awareness and                     understanding of autism, the situation would have been handled differently, and there was no need for passengers to fear this girl      because they did not understand her behaviors.

   April was Autism Awareness Month, but we work year-round to encourage acceptance, understanding, and compassion to all          who are on the autism spectrum as well as their families and caregiver. We hope that better training, awareness, and                      opportunities to learn about autism will lead to more positive outcomes in the future, both for airline staff and the passengers who    were concerned.

ASO can meet with or give information to any passengers who would like to better understand the situation they witnessed. ASO is also offering to provide training to the flight crew and airline staff to better understand and support individuals on the autism spectrum who may fly with them in the future.

For additional discussion of these issues, please see the article in The Oregonian at:


  SPRING 2015:  About Face Magazine's Interview with ASO Executive Director, Tobi Burch Rates,  
   at page 72.

 April 7, 2015: from the Eastern Oregonian:  Chapter Rep, Winnie Burnett, honored as 2014 Pendleton Volunteer of the Year


 Winifred [Winnie] Burnett was honored as the 2014 city of Pendleton Volunteer of the Year for  initiating  and implementing a weekly Open Gym program for  persons with special needs.

 Each Sunday, Burnett supervises the activity at the  Pendleton Recreation Center.  Recreation  Supervisor Lisa Patrick nominated Burnett, citing the leadership role she has taken to improve  Pendleton’s livability for individuals with special needs and their caregivers. Her willingness to serve  provides a free program for an under-served population. Burnett received the award during the April  7 Pendleton City Council meeting, which included a celebration of volunteerism.  

For information on this and other support and activity groups in Eastern Oregon, please see: Support Groups - ASO Region 1

spectrums_logo.png   January 5, 2015: in Spectrums  Magazine, "Forest Grove Game Club  offers Activities and Community.A look  at a long-time Game Club co- sponsored by ASO and Pacific University. Kudos to volunteers Kristy McGinnis, Manuela Gutzmann, Mindy Wiegand for keeping this group going strong! For more information on the Forest Grove Game Club, see our support group listings by clicking here.


From Mass Mutual Special Needs Planning Team: Audio documentary-style radio series about the special needs community in greater Portland and SW Washington.

February 10, 2014: from Bluefish Dental in Bend and Redmond, OR - "You Inspire Us: The Romo Family"

The Roberts family recently moved to Redmond and loves how their new neighbors and community have embraced their son Logan, who has special needs."We think we have the most amazing patient families and we want to share your stories...please take a moment to read this touching piece featured on our blog, written by amazing mom and autism advocate Melissa Romo.

Coming up on Saturday, April 5, 2014: The First Autism Walk in Deschutes County. Join fellow community members at this event to help increase awareness about autism, network, raise funds for our local ASO programs and celebrate our kids and families! To learn more about the event and to register visit the walk registration website and their Facebook page."

Melissa Romo is the ASO volunteer chapter representative for Redmond, Oregon who is spearheading the 1st Autism Walk in Deschutes County on Sat, April 5, 2014 at Highland Baptist Church in Redmond.

September 16, 2013: The Lund Report, "Autism Treatment for Oregon Health Plan Faces Hurdles, But Approval for Some Kids Likely."

 "Applied behavior analysis has been rejected for coverage by a state evidence-based medicine panel once before, but the Legislature has passed a law requirin

g private insurance companies to cover the therapy, forcing the state to reconsider its decision." For more, please click here.

September 10, 2013: "Cheer squad: Autistic teammate gives it her all" on KPCIC-TV. 

Cheer squad: Autistic teammate gives it her all

 Glide, Ore. -- Last week, the Glide Wildcats had their first home game of the season. At that game, there was one cheerleader who was cheering for a lot more than football.

Kendra Pettengill's daughter Keely is on the cheer leading team, but there was a time when she wasn't sure it was best for her daughter. "I was thinking this was the last thing she needs, is to be on a cheer squad," Kendra said.

But, Keely made the varsity cheer squad for her sophomore year. She's not like most cheerleaders: she's autistic."

For more, please click here

June 4,2013:  Former college basketball player brings anti-bullying message to students-  ASO event featured on KATU News!

Anthony Ianni was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 4 years old. His parents were told by specialists that he would never be successful academically, would likely not graduate from high school or go to college, and would never be able to participate in athletics. HE PROVED THEM WRONG! Anthony graduated from high school, was admitted to Michigan State University on a full athletic scholarship and graduated with a bachelor of arts in Sociology.

January 23, 2013: "Autism Advocates Push Bills" in the Estacada News.

     "Life certainly hasn’t been easy for Estacada residents Brian and Heidi Lowry since they found out that their daughter, Myiah, was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a severe form of autism.  Bills are being proposed for the 2013 legislative session that are aimed at helping families like the Lowrys." For more, please click here.

January 25, 2013: Tobi Rates, Executive Director of ASO, was interviewed on "Autism Empowerment Radio." Access it in their archives: CLICK HERE FOR THE RADIO LINK. Or, download the show to your mobile device by subscribing to the Autism Empowerment Radio podcast through iTunes. CLICK HERE FOR iTUNES LINK

Autism Empowerment is an educational 501(c)(3) public charity serving those in the Autism and Asperger communities. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, Washington by a family with 3 out of 4 traveling daily along on the autism spectrum, "we are dedicated to being a positive source for Acceptance, Enrichment, Inspiration and Empowerment, serving all ages and all abilities." CLICK HERE for more information about Autism Empowerment.

 Jan. 11, 2013: "Parents Fight To Get New Autism Treatment Covered" on OPB. 

Anastasia Puha with four-year-old Mili "Portland mom Anastasia Puha has her hands full. Not only does she have four little girls, but Mili, her four-year-old, is autistic. "(Her) speech didn't develop," she says. "Really sensitive to noise and light and texture and just pretty cranky, pretty cranky child."  For more, please click here.  

Dec, 2012: From the Autism Society of America:

 No Link Between Autism and Planned Violence

The Autism Society continues to mourn the lives lost on Friday in Newtown, Conn. We join the nation as we keep our collective attention focused on those directly impacted by this tragedy. 

In the nation’s rush to understand the reasoning for such an awful occurrence, the conversation evolved to include the alleged shooter’s possible autism diagnosis. The Autism Society feels it is imperative to remove autism from this tragic story.  Race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are seldom, if ever, linked to the actions of an individual in a causal relationship.  It is imperative that developmental disorders and disabilities be treated in the same vein.    

Further, the Autism Society is committed to informing, educating and securing appropriate services by providing reliable and unbiased information. To that end, we are compelled to dispel any myths about individuals with autism:

No evidence exists to link autism and premeditated violence. Suggesting otherwise is wrong and harmful to the more than 1.5 million individuals living with autism in the United States.1

Individuals with autism and those with other disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.2

Many of the individuals with Asperger’s syndrome who have committed crimes had co-existing psychiatric disorders.3

Individuals with autism who act aggressively typically do so because they are reacting to a situation. 

Please do not judge any individual with autism based on the discourse surrounding Friday’s tragic event. Instead, please strive to educate and inform your communities. Help the Autism Society ensure that individuals with autism are not marginalized due to a misunderstanding of a complicated disorder.  Please consider forwarding or sharing this information with a friend.

1. Gunasekaran, S., & Chaplin, E. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders and offending. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 6, 308-313.
2. Hughes, K., Bellis, M. A., Jones, L., Wood, S., Bates, G., Eckley, L., ... & Officer, A. (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against adults with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet. 379, 1621-1629.
3. Newman SS, Ghaziuddin M: Violent crime in Asperger syndrome: the role of psychiatric comorbidity. J Autism Dev Disord 39:1949-52, 2008.

ASO Board Member Jonathan Chase gave the keynote speech at the Annual Gala benefiting the NorthWest Autism Foundation (NWAF), detailing his life as a person on the autism spectrum. Click here for video of Jonathan's speech, and click here for video of Jonathan's bass solo later that evening. Click here for more information about Jonathan's speaking and other activities.

JUNE 21, 2012: ASO Executive Director, Tobi Rates, and Portland Parent, Anastasia Puha, were interviewed on OPB'S "THINK OUT LOUD" about the City of Portland's recently enacted coverage of autism therapies for city employees. For information about the City of Porland's coverageplease click here. For information about the OPB broadcast, please click here.

June 13, 2012:  "Autism Spectrum Disorders Make Headway in PortlandArticle in The Lund Report regarding the decision by the Portland City Council to cover employees under the the self-insured plan  for autism coverage for their families, including ABA therapy, as of July 1st. 

June 7, 2012 - "Portland Moves on Autism Insurance Reform for City Employees, Sets Stage for Statewide Action in Oregon in 2013" - Press Release by Autism Votes, a project of Autism Speaks, about the recent extension of health insurance benefits to cover autism therapies to City of Portland employees. ASO supports Autism Insurance reforms efforts, and ASO's Executive Director provided testimony in support of this action.

March 29, 2012 - Tobi Rates, Executive Director of ASO was interviewed on the KGW-TV (Channel 8) "Hot Box" regarding the 2012 CDC report on the large increase in autism diagnoses nationwide. Click here to see the interview at

March 29, 2012 - CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder.  Press release by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailing the results of the most recent nation-wide estimate of rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders in children. To learn more about this study, visit