“Every Day We Have an Opportunity to Learn Something New”
Sandra Worth is the Founder and Executive Director of My Autism Connection (MAC). MAC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to equip adults with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) with the social skills, skills training, and career experiences to move them towards living their best and most independent lives. Prior to the founding of MAC, Worth worked in healthcare for 20 years as a radiographer and several years in the financial sector.
Worth believes that with the right support, autistic adults can have fair access to areas of life all adults seek- fulfilling relationships and meaningful work. Her dedication to helping autistic individuals gain the tools to feel uplifted, hopeful, and ready for their life transitions stems from her own experiences. One of her sons was diagnosed with ASD, and Worth saw that support resources beyond those available to school-aged individuals were sparse. She knew her son could experience greater life opportunities if there were more services to bridge him from the structure of his school years to the hopes for his adulthood.
Driven by her persistence to ensure her son had every advantage for transitioning into a fulfilled and happy adulthood and her hope to help other parents and autistic adults, Worth became a Certified Autism Specialist in 2011. In 2012, she assembled the beginnings of MAC in Ft. Myers, Florida with a small group of 3 adults and within a few weeks grew to meetings of twenty-five individuals. Worth began building community partnerships with law enforcement, interagency organizations, and private organizations to provide hands-on learning opportunities for the adults within MAC to better navigate the community and also to help those in the community see the needs and potential of the growing population of adults with ASD.
She holds certifications in the SCERTS® Model and as a PEERS® instructor to increase the quality and efficacy of MAC’s programs. In 2016, Worth sought and obtained MAC 501(c)(3) status for MAC to expand its impact and reach.
Worth is proud of MAC’s uniqueness in that it is a member-driven organization. She believes equipping autistic individuals to advocate for their needs within their organization helps give them the courage to carry their voices into their communities.
In addition to her work with MAC, Worth provides advocacy guidance and support for families of children with autism (school-based services, IEPs, 504 plans). She is a Certified Autism Specialist and serves on CARD-USF’s (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) Constituency Board.
When Sandra is not advocating or educating, she enjoys kayaking and traveling with her husband.