The Autism Society Community Center in Johnson City has recently become a local resource for the improvement of lives for community members with autism and their families. The center is dedicated to providing a place where those with autism and their families can be themselves without fearing judgment or restraint.

The Autism Society Community Center is the host for several events including, but not limited to, support groups for autistic individuals and their families, respite, social gatherings and workshops. The center also plays a part in connecting families to other useful resources in the area.

The center itself has areas that autistic individuals of any age will enjoy. In the Autism Society Community Center, one of the rooms you can expect to find is the entertainment room. Included in the entertainment room are tabletop games such as billiards, air hockey, foosball and table tennis, as well as a center for video games and movies.

The entertainment room isn’t the only valuable asset that the center has. There is also a reading nook tent, board games, Legos, an area for presentations, an art room, a room for support group meetings and a “calm down” room where individuals can go to recover from an emotional crisis in a supportive environment. There is also a store in development that will be used to teach teens and young adults money management skills.

Courtney Johnson, a student at ETSU majoring in special education as well as a regular volunteer at the Community Center, believes that the Autism Society Community Center is a valuable asset to the community.

“I am an autistic adult, and I also became the primary caregiver for my autistic little brother, who was born when I was 10,” Johnson said. “Because of my unique perspective of being both autistic and understanding the stresses of parenting, it helps shape my role as the Teen and Adult Social Scene Coordinator by giving me insight and allowing me to craft a space that I know our children will feel secure and confident in.”

Some of the activities that are coming up at the center are the Teen and Young Adult Hangout on Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. This will give individuals with autism the opportunity to socialize and play games. The Lego Club, a favorite at the center, will be on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. and a Haunted House Fundraiser will be on Oct. 27 and 28.

Johnson summed up the community center’s motto best and said, “I love helping others, and if I can make life easier for other autistic people in the future, it’s absolutely worth it.”