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March 2024 Newsletter

Updated: Apr 1


Meet the Family Member of the month: Satish Pallapotu, a champion of inclusion for WeEMBRACE


This month we are celebrating Satish Pallapotu, a dedicated board member to WeEMBRACE and a beacon of hope for us all!


Satish’s journey with WeEMBRACE began with a personal connection as a parent of a neurodiverse child. He joined WeEMBRACE with a clear vision: to offer support, share valuable resources, and guide families navigating a new diagnosis.


His engagement with WeEMBRACE has been transformative, notably appreciating the peer-to-peer resources and the introduction of new classes tailored for neurodiverse individuals. These initiatives have not only benefited his family but have also fostered an inclusive environment for WeEMBRACE members to thrive on.


A cherished memory for Satish was playing Santa at a WeEMBRACE event, highlighting the joy and community spirit our organization embodies. His favorite aspect of WeEMBRACE is its educational offerings, especially proud of his younger daughter, who leads a 'fun science experiments' class.


As a board member, Satish prioritizes community support, focusing on administrative assistance to ensure WeEMBRACE's continued impact. Looking ahead, Satish is excited about the potential of WeEMBRACE's new center and innovative initiatives like Chaat n Kaffe. These projects aim to equip neurodiverse individuals with essential life skills for adulthood, including job readiness.


One thing Satish has to say to young volunteers at WeEMBRACE is that everyone has a role to play- even just the willingness to support this cause goes a long way. The time and effort volunteers dedicate to WeEMBRACE are what drive this organization forward.


Written by Mansi



WeEMBRACE's Volunteer of the Month: A Passionate and Dedicated High School Senior


This month we’ll be featuring a dedicated high school senior, who has been volunteering with WeEMBRACE since his sophomore year. Abhiroop Khere, first learned about WeEMBRACE through his mother and other volunteers. He was immediately drawn to the organization's mission and the opportunity to make a positive impact in their community.


Abhiroop's journey with WeEMBRACE began with the Buddy Match program, where he was matched with an individual who is neurodiverse for one-on-one conversations. From there, he started signing up for in-person classes and activities, such as arts and crafts, social skills, and community events like marathons and walks.


When asked about his favorite part of volunteering with WeEMBRACE, Abhiroop expressed his love for interacting with the kids and their families. He especially enjoyed teaching arts and crafts, where he got to see the kids progress and apply what they've learned.


One of his favorite experiences with WeEMBRACE was during a Thanksgiving event, where he made paper mache turkeys. Abhiroop found it to be a fun and memorable experience.


Looking towards the future, Abhiroop is excited about the new opportunities that WeEMBRACE has to offer, such as their new center. While they enjoy the online classes, he hopes to participate in more in-person activities and fundraisers to help the organization expand and improve.


For those considering volunteering with WeEMBRACE, our Volunteer of the Month offers some advice. He suggests giving it time and participating as much as possible, as it takes time to build relationships with the families and kids they work with. However, Abhiroop emphasizes that WeEMBRACE is a very inclusive organization, and volunteers can create meaningful friendships and connections within the community.


Written by Anushri



Upcoming Events:

Here are the upcoming event for the month of March:


- Bollywood Dance with Frank - On  Saturdays from 2.00 PM - 3.00 PM 

- BollyX with Diana  - On Sundays from 10.00 AM - 10.45 AM

For more information to participate, visit:


 We have our once a month activities:

- Bowling social - March 9th Saturday from 12.30 PM - 1.30 PM

- Open Sensory Gymnastics  March 10th  Sunday from 1.30 PM - 3.00 PM

- AAC Social - March 16th from 12.45 PM- 1.45 PM 

- We have our very first Inclusive Holi coming up this March 23rd Saturday from 2.00 PM 

- Sewing & Embroidery for adults on every Sunday at 12:45 PM

Interested in participating, visit:



Recap: 


We had our WeEMBRACE center grand opening/ Ribbon cutting ceremony, by the City of Rancho Cordova.





EMBRACE Stars is a talent show where individuals who are neuro-diverse showcase their talents. This yearly event gives our participants the platform to exhibit their talents on stage. 

The shows vary from group dance, funny skits done by AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication ) users, and many more solo performances! On top of that, we had a Fashion Show with our beautiful models! 


Dr Pal was one of the Chief Guests for this event and his presence was the best encouragement for our organization. He highlighted in his speech that WeEMBRACE has a brand new workspace center and how this brings many more opportunities - like vocational skills space and the new Snack Bar " Chaat & Kaffe" in which our participants are trained to make simple snacks and money management!!


On top of everything Dr Pal announced  $ 5000 donation from his social media followers! 

We are profoundly grateful for Dr. Pal's generosity and his continuous support!!





Written by Akila



March Special: Research Story


Masking in Women and the Effect it has on Autism Diagnosis

Autism is often diagnosed at a varying degree between men and women. In many cases, Women with autism are misdiagnosed, diagnosed later in life, or left undiagnosed, leading to a lack of support for those who need it.


While the disparagement in diagnosis for neurodivergent women can be attributed to a variety of different factors, it can often be associated with masking.


Masking is the modification of one’s behaviors in order to appear more neurotypical. Masking can involve a wide variety of behaviors such as:

  • Deliberately holding eye contact during a conversation, even when one is uncomfortable with doing so

  • Imitating the behaviors of people around them whether it be their gestures or their expressions

  • Using pre-prepared responses, jokes, and phrases in conversations with other

  • Suppressing certain behaviors in order to “blend in” with neurotypical people and behaviors


Masking is more commonly seen in women which may be due to the societal pressures placed on women and girls from a young age. Women with autism often face more stigma for expressing certain behaviors, such as being disruptive during conversations or not being empathic.


These behaviors are generally seen as masculine or un-feminine so women are often taught to suppress or hide such behaviors, resulting in masking among women with autism. Another reason for masking in women may be that women are considered to be the more social sex. Women are more often forced to socialize and converse with others, allowing neurodivergent women to more easily pick up and learn masking strategies that allow them to blend in with neurotypical people.


There is a great deal of importance in recognizing masking and the negative impact it can have on women with autism. Not only are women less likely to be diagnosed with women, it can also cause the emotional repression of girls with autism.


People with autism who mask are often much more aware of their emotional expressions and behaviors. As a result, they are more likely to repress their emotions, even when they are excited or happy about a certain event.


While masking may allow a neurodivergent person to blend in with others and potentially face less stigma or discrimination, it can more often be harmful to women with autism who have to repress their emotions and behaviors for the sake of conforming with society. It is important that people are able to properly express themselves without feeling required to mask their behaviors.


Sources:


Written by Aashika



Credits to WeEMBRACE's newsletter Team!!

Mansi: Team Lead and writer

Akila aunty: Writer

Aashika: Writer

Anushri: Writer



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