Bristol Rotary's campaign to address autism

autism A young  autistic boy who has arranged his toys in a row.

Here’s a project that reminds me of why I like American local civic organizations so much. The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville touted these groups back in the 1830s and he was quite right to do so: They represent some of the best national characteristics of Americans -- compassion, generosity, neighborliness, energy and ingenuity.

Anyway, The Autism Project and the Bristol Rotary {Club} Charities Foundation have announced the opening of a new center to serve individuals, their families and healthcare professionals. Autism, of course, has been increasingly in the news as healthcare providers, researchers, news media and the general public have become more and more aware of how widespread it is and of the need to address it much more comprehensively.

There are an estimated 2,000 families in the East Bay (defined for this purpose as the towns of Barrington, Warren and Bristol) with people with autism spectrum disorder.

The Autism Project – East Bay Support Center will open Sept. 14. The primary location will be the Highlander Charter School, on Route 136 in Warren, but training and individual meetings with parent resource specialists can be scheduled at Mt. Hope High School, in Bristol, and the East Bay Chamber of Commerce, in Warren.

Before this there has been no center to serve this population in the East Bay; people had to travel to the west side of Narragansett Bay. But the hard-working and civic-minded people at the Bristol Rotary Club rolled up their sleeves to help meet this need.

Bruce Cox, president of Bristol Rotary Charities Foundation, said:

“Supporting this project is important to us and to other Rotary Clubs in the East Bay. We created an advisory council of community leaders committed to bringing support and resources to the project, and to reflect the community’s commitment to its citizens in need.’’

This is the sort of effort that helps keep America together.

For more information, please contact Joanne G. Quinn of The Autism Project at (401) 500-3146 or