The FAP - Friends of

Autistic People

Autism in the Family: How FAP Began

FAP founder Brita Darany von Regensburg's daughter Vanessa was born with classic autism. When Vanessa reached 21 years of age, she was discharged from the Greenwich Association of Retarded Citizens group home because they did not have the staffing to support an adult with profound autism.


That was when Brita found there were no mandated autism-specific services, programs or supports available for Vanessa. "It was as if Vanessa's life no longer existed," Brita said.

Her experiences caring for Vanessa as an adult left Brita determined that no one else should go through the struggle alone. She formed FAP in 1997 with a commitment to helping families navigate the system, and advocate for and intervene on behalf of their children with autism.

Protecting the vulnerable among us

Friends of Autistic People is a parents' support group dedicated to bringing about an environment where adult children with autism can be assured of receiving high-quality care and assistance after they turn 21. FAP is the only charitable organization in Connecticut that advocates appropriate services for adults on the entire spectrum of autism.

We seek for our children a life that would allow them to make choices, live as independently as possible, have access to all aspects of the community, hold jobs and become participating members of society.

FAP strives to reach this goal by raising awareness of the services and supported living arrangements that autistic adults need, and searching for help within public and private organizations

Change Through Education and Advocacy

With the help of parents, donors, professionals and legislators, FAP has advanced the cause of adults with autism in a number of ways.

  • We host support meetings and lectures by experts in the field.
  • We educate the public and businesses about the needs and talents of those with autism.
  • We raise awareness through media programs and benefit events.
  • We are working on starting a farm where adults with autism can live, work and continue to develop their skills. We hope this home will serve as a model for replication throughout the country.
  • We collaborated with the state of Connecticut to open the first autism focused group home in Fairfield County


Friends of Autistic People (FAP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all individuals on the autism spectrum from childhood through adulthood.

We intend to help them reach their highest level of independence possible to assure that they will lead lives with dignity and competence as contributing members of the community.

The Spirit of Greenwich Award

Excerpt from a Greenwich Post article by Sara Poirier, Assistant Editor Sept 19 2007

Brita Darany von Regensburg receives Spirit of Greenwich Award

Spirit of Greenwich Award

The Spirit of Greenwich Awards seeks to recognize and honor women volunteers in vision, devotion and accomplishment that enhance our community,” said Chris Hikawa, chairwoman of the YWCA Board of Directors, just before introducing the recipients at Tuesday’s ceremony.

The 2007 honorees include Pamela A. Farr, Elise Hillman Green, Phyllis Jacob, Patricia B. McDonald, Linda Munger, Brita Darany von Regensburg, Nancy Voye Weissler and Martha “Muffin” Zoubek.

Women received a gift from the YWCA, “Spirit” certificate, citations from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Mr. Nickerson, and a congratulatory letter from United States Congressman Christopher Shays.

As each recipient was introduced to the crowd of more than 100, each expressed gratitude to the organizations to which they had and continue to serve, as well as the people who helped them along the way.

Ms. Darany von Regensburg has advocated for the needs of grown children with autism for more than a decade, founding Friends of Autistic People (FAP) in 1997. A former interior designer and the mother of an autistic daughter, Ms. Darany von Regensburg has served as the nonprofit’s president, bringing internationally renowned autism experts to Greenwich.

The latest initiative of FAP is to create the first farm living and learning academy village for grown autistic children in Connecticut.

Ms. Darany von Regensburg has also been involved with Kids in Crisis, the Greenwich Library Flinn Gallery, the Red Cross, Greenwich Hospital, the Bruce Museum, Greenwich ARC, and many other groups locally and regionally.

She and her husband, Tibor, were honored as Greenwich Volunteer Couple of the Year by the Volunteer Center and the United Way of Fairfield in 2005.

Revered Greenwich Resident to Receive Morton's the Steakhouse "WOMEN OF SPIRIT" Award

STAMFORD and GREENWICH, CT, July 30, 2007

Morton's The Steakhouse and the Fairfield County Chapter of the American Red Cross, along with the world's leading women in wine, will honor Brita Darany of Greenwich at an exclusive wine dinner to be held August 10th at Morton's The Steakhouse in Stamford. Ms. Darany is being honored as Stamford's "Woman of Spirit", a woman who reflects values and principles similar to the mission of the American Red Cross, and who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to volunteerism and service. She is founder and president of the grassroots organization, Friends of Autistic People (FAP).

Ms. Darany is one of 38 "Women of Spirit" selected by Morton's The Steakhouse and the American Red Cross who exemplify the spirit of the founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton. Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross, notes, "Over 125 years ago, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on the battlefield of the Civil War. She was a woman of dedication and commitment who helped so many in their hour of need and she had an unyielding spirit. The American Red Cross is very honored to be Morton's national partner to highlight the power of women like Clara Barton who selflessly volunteer and serve others in their community." In September, the 38-city campaign will conclude with an "all-star" gala event honoring the American Red Cross, in Washington, DC, at the Morton's in Georgetown, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Mother of an autistic adult daughter, Vanessa, Ms. Darany founded FAP in 1999 when she realized no services were available to meet the needs of autistic adults. Through perseverance and hard work, she has made FAP an effective, well-known, well-supported entity in the local community. Her dedicated lobbying efforts have succeeded in fulfilling her advocacy efforts at local, state and national levels. In 2000, FAP collaborated with the Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation to plan and open its first autism-focused group home in Fairfield County. Friends of FAP and speakers at FAP parents meetings have included Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Chis Shays, Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.

Volunteer Couple of the Year

Brita and her husband, Tibor, were honored as Greenwich Volunteer Couple of the Year by the Volunteer Center and the United Way of Fairfield in 2005.

Cheri L. Collins writes:

I am the mother of a teenage boy with autism. As my son ages doors close - there are fewer and fewer opportunities for him to have meaningful interactions with others. I am so pleased that there is an organization like FAP out there that is, more than metaphorically, looking to open a door, working to build a better future for adult children with autism. The Farm project will open a door to a future where our children can continue to grow and can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Dorothy Lerner, mother of Michael O'Reilly writes:

As the mother of a 34 year-old son with autism and as a professional in the disability field, I applaud the diligence and determination of Friends of Autistic People to create a sustainable farming community for adults on the Autism Spectrum: a vibrant community within the community where learning, growing, working and giving back to the community become a daily reality for our adult children on the spectrum. I am proud to be an active member of this progressive, innovative and dedicated organization. As everyone knows only too well, the population of those with autism is swelling to previously unimaginable numbers. Parents of individuals with Autism are aging and families will not always be there to care for their family member with Autism. Currently, there are very few group homes that are capable of providing the intensive and comprehensive life services that adults on the Autism Spectrum so desperately require to be fully included in their communities. There is little evidence that this dearth of group homes will change over time. It is imperative that we, the families of children with Autism, actively support and participate in building the farm and realizing the dream that we all share: a safe, caring, productive, and thriving living, learning, and working environment for our sons and daughters.

Veronica writes:

My son Alex is almost 17 (10/24/89) and I do decorating and teach design at a college also. These upcoming (FAP) events sound great and I will come. Thank you for all the work you are is so meaningful!!

Angelina Simms-Cousins:

I just wanted to reach out and say hello to you. I sat next to you at lunchtime during the Autism Conference at Adelphi University. I hope that all is well with you and your daughter. It is such a wonderful thing that you are doing for adults with Autism. Sitting next to you and across to the nice woman on the other side of the lunch table helped me feel assured that there is hope for my 7 year old son in the future for when he reaches adulthood. Please continue doing the wonderful things that you are doing. The world needs more people like you with big hearts full of love.

Board of Directors:

  • Brita Darany von Regensburg - President/ Founder
  • Raymond Firestone
  • Siegrid Fried
  • Tibor Darany
  • Richard Slagle, Esq.
  • Peter Tesei, First Selectman, Greenwich CT
  • Andrew Szabo

Directors Emeriti:

  • Jim Funnel, Esq.
  • Richard Seltzer †
  • Betty Davis
  • Barbara Salop
  • Stephanie Paulmeno
  • Joan Warburg †
  • John Bausman †
  • Jim Thompson

Honorary Board:

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT)
  • Christopher Shays, former United States Representative (CT-04)
  • Christopher Dodd, former U.S. Senator (CT)
  • William Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport, CT

Professional Advisory Board:

  • Isaac Reshad - Vice Chairman, Advisory Board
  • Margaret Bauman, Ph.D. Director, LADDERS/MGH
  • Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor, Colorado State University
  • Nancy O'Hara MD - Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Peter Gerhardt, Ph.D. OAR, President & CEO Scientific Council
  • Alan Harchik, Ph.D. May Institute
  • Dr. Howard Klebanoff, Esq
  • Ami Klin, Ph.D. Diretor, Marcus Autism Centre
  • Michael Powers, Psy.D. Director, Children with Special Needs Center
  • Patrick Sciaratta, Ph.D.
  • Linda Grimm, Director, Ben Haven Learning Network

FAP's Professional Advisory Board

The purpose of the Friends of Autistic People Advisory Board is to assist and support the organization in carrying out its mission of education, counsel, advocacy, and development of services for adults with autism.

Among responsibilities of individuals invited to serve on the Advisory Board are:

  • Serving as a resource for information and referrals pertaining to autism.
  • Providing guidance on clinical and technical issues, as needed.
  • Assisting with identifying and securing resources and support, e.g., space for programs, meetings with state and national legislators.

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Organization for Autism Research (OAR's) Scientific Council Chairman since its founding in 2001, recently joined OAR full time as its President. Dr. Gerhardt whose private practice is based in Baltimore, MD, has authored and co-authored many articles and sections of books on the needs of adults with autism spectrum disorder. He has presented nationally and internationally on these topics. He currently serves on numerous professional advisory boards as well as serving on the Board of Directors of GRASP. Previous professional positions include serving as the Executive Director, Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism, Research Asst. Professor at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology where he served as the Director of the Division of Transition and Adult Services at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center. It was in this capacity that he co-founded the Douglass Group, a social skills and support service for adults with Aspergers Disorder or High Functioning Autism. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.

Alan Harchik, Ph.D.

Dr. Harchik is Senior Vice President for the May Institute's services for people with MR/DD located in West Springfield, MA. He has extensive background in developing and directing community-based programs for people with disabilities. Dr. Harchik is a licensed psychologist, certified special educator, and certified behavior analyst. He has published over a dozen articles and chapters, presented at many national conferences, and served as a guest reviewer for a number of professional journals. He received both his Ph.D. in developmental and child psychology and his M.A. in human development from the University of Kansas.

Howard Klebanoff, Esq.

Mr. Klebanoff is an attorney specializing in special education law and the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Former Chairman of the CT State Legislature House Education Committee, he is a recognized lecturer on special education law. Mr. Klebanoff has been honored by the University of Connecticut which established The Klebanoff Institute in Special Education in his name.

Ami Klin, Ph.D.

Dr. Klin is the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of London, and completed post-doctoral fellowships in developmental psychopathology at the Yale Child Study Center. He coordinates psychological evaluations at the Yale Child Study Center Developmental Disabilities Clinic, and the diagnostic, neuropsychological, and social cognitive assessments of two large, federally-funded program projects focused on behavioral and neurobiological aspects of autism and related conditions. Dr. Klin's research activities focus on psychological and biological mechanisms impacting socialization, particularly as these mechanisms are expressed in individuals with autism and related severe social disabilities. He is the author of over 60 publications in this field of research.

Michael P. Powers, Psy.D.

Dr. Powers is the Director of the Center for Children with Special Needs in Tolland, CT. He is a pediatric psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of individuals with autism and related disorders. He completed his graduate work at Columbia and Rutgers, and is on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Powers is the author/editor of several books and lectures widely throughout the United States and abroad.

Membership on the Honorary and Professional Advisory Boards does not necessarily imply endorsement of the editorial views expressed in FAP's newsletter.

Our Dream

Today, FAP's most important project is to build a prototype, green Farm Academy, complete with a cutting-edge teaching facility and small village campu. On the Farm, adult children over 21 with autism will live, enjoy nature based education, learn a variety of skills like self-help, arts, crafts, food preparation, animal care and office, farm and academic skills.

The skills grown children with autism will learn at the Farm Academy may also allow them to take jobs someday and earn income. For example, Vanessa Darany, daughter of FAP founder Brita Darany von Regensburg, has learned with assistance to bake organic apple pies, which prepares her to work at a bakery. Once their potential is tapped, the possibilities are endless for adults with autism.

Blossoming in an Organic Farm

Our children do well in quiet, open and natural environments. Many love to walk, love animals and just enjoy being outdoors. They also thrive on repetition, and the peaceful routine of farm life

The "student farmers" at the FAP Farm Academy will:

  • Live in a community that is understanding and safe;
  • Experience growing crops, raising animals, working with their hands and creating craft products. Our dream includes:
    • a weaving room
    • a papermaking workshop
    • a bakery
    • a kitchen classroom
    • wool working room
    • candle making workshop
    • wreath making workshop
    • tea room/gift shop
  • Interact with the local community through farm festivals with musicians, inviting local school children to visits to the farm, inviting teenagers and seniors to be buddies;
  • Use local resources like shopping, libraries, movies, malls, etc. when appropriate, and partner with other civic groups;
  • Engage in several autism specific programs, including speech/communication, sensory integration, and animal assisted therapy sessions with horses and dogs;
  • Take advantage of an intergenerational community, with spaces allocated for both seniors and youths such as inner-city children.

The Dream of Independent Living

Adults with autism in the FAP Farm Academy will learn to be increasingly independent. Successful farmers will advance from a highly structured living and learning environment that requires one-on-one supervision, to jobs and housing that need less support.

Being on the farm will be rewarding for adults with autism. To the extent of their abilities, they will exercise a life of self-determination. The Farm Academy will help these children on their journey to become an integral part of society as they increase their independence.

To that end, there will be a constant focus on helping our farmers acquire skills by turning their behaviors into talents. Each person will have an individually designed residential, work and leisure plan tailored to their interests and level of ability. We assume competency for every person. Some important skills that will be targeted for development:

  • Daily living skills
  • Social skills and participation
  • Positive self-care and reduction of adverse behavior
  • Intellectual pursuits through, for instance, educational puzzles and cartoons
  • An active lifestyle through recreation


Farms for adults with autism are not a new idea. The first such farm model was established at Somerset Court in England in 1974. Since then, many farms for adults with autism have been set up worldwide. The first U.S. farm, BitterSweet Farms in Ohio, opened in the early 1980s and is still a flourishing community.

Environmental Impact

FAP aims to build the prototype of a green Farm Academy with sustainable farming and living methods. We will preserve open space, use rescue animals in the animal assisted therapy programs, and act to leave the smallest carbon-footprint possible.

Naming Opportunities

You can help us build the dream by buying a piece of the future. Buy a room, buy a house, buy the ranch! If you would like to make a major gift, and get a naming opportunity, please see more information here.

Buy A Brick

You can help us make the farm become a reality faster while you leave a wonderful legacy.

You can buy a brick and have it engraved with a message.

You can honor or remember someone who is dear to you or to whom you are grateful for their friendship, guidance or inspiration - a teacher, child, parent, grandparent, your company, or your favorite group. You can celebrate a birthday or buy a brick in the memory of an individual or a group.

brick Image

Here are the options

A Brick with up to 20 letters - $100.00

A Brick with 21 - 60 letters - $200.00


Email or call 203-661-8510

How to buy one

Print out the form, fill in the desired message, and mail with your check or credit card details to:

Friends of Autistic People

974 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06831

A Spring Night for Autism Honoring Tommy & Dee Hilfiger

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017. 6: 30 pm to 9: 30 pm (6: 30 – 7: 00 pm Private Meet & Greet with Tommy & Dee). Stunning New Private Home,* Celebrate on Terrace (weather permitting)

Friends of Autistic People - The FAP - and GREENWICH MAGAZINE invite you to A SPRING NIGHT FOR AUTISM on the occasion of FAP’s 20th Anniversary and to celebrate Autism Month

Wine/Champagne/Cocktails by Val's Putnam Wines

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres by Susan Kane Catering

Ben Zabin, wandering Illusionist to keep you wondering

Nanny Assis Brazilian Jazz

Olga Litvinenko, Miss Connecticut

Informal Fashion show - young people with Autism & their friends modeling Tommy Hilfiger outfits

Live & Silent Auction

Complimentary copy to every guest, of a signed gift-boxed Hilfiger Memoir “American Dreamer”

Pricing Sheet

Medication, Mental Health, and Autism

Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM
FAP- Friends of Autistic People - Re: Dr. Jou at Noble Conference Ctr., 4/18/16

Friends of Autistic People (FAP) and Greenwich Hospital will co-host Dr. Roger Jou, Medical Director at the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience, Yale Child Study Center. at the Noble Conference Center ,in a presentation entitled "Medication, Mental Health, and Autism. on Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM

Dr. Jou

Dr.Jou will speak about new treatment strategies, including experimental approaches targeting core social and communication vulnerabilities. Dr. Jou is one of the few autism focused psychiatrists who treats

the older child and adult with autism. He advises on using as little medication as possible and warns against over medicating. He states that Individuals living with autism are at increased risk for mental health conditions. Some examples include anxiety, depression, inattention and hyperactivity. While there are no medications approved for treating the underlying social disability of autism, these co-occurring mental health conditions can often be effectively treated with the same medications approved for use in their typically developing peers. However, careful adaptation is required to ensure accurate assessment which is essential for safe and effective treatment. Adaptations not only include tailored prescribing practises, but also close collaboration with key professionals and family members. Given the shortage of prescribers and other professionals specialized in treating mental health conditions in individuals living with autism, the aforementioned process is at risk for breakdown. This presentation addresses these various challenges by providing an overview on psychotropic medications followed by principles and practises for use in this special population. There will be time for Q & A

Music Therapy Clinic Program

FAP- Friends of Autistic People - Re: Dr. Jou at Noble Conference Ctr., 4/18/16

FAP has established a Music therapy Clinic Program . It is a movable program , a Music Therapy "Truck" so to speak - not unlikely the now very popular movable restaurants on wheels, the food trucks : the therapist comes to your home or wherever is most suitable to work with your child. She then uses all musical tools such as rhythm , instruments, song, sound, word, pitch, color etc, in a person centered treatment program to help your child reach the milestones that the parent and the therapist determine the child or adult with autism needs to reach. Music based activity and therapy is one of the most successful tools in working with people who have autism. AT ANY AGE! It has been very successful for children and adults. As we do not have the - the Independent Homesteads Community yet we started this program in the meantime . FAP's Music Therapy Program is subsidized to the recipient and the parent pays very little compared to the value the child receives in stimulating of the brain, learning opportunity for goals selected by the parent with the therapist and potential for improvement as well as an hour respite for the caregiver. We pursue grants to fund our program. If the mother is single and unemployed we absorb almost all the cost. Please help us continue this porgram by donating NOW.

New Director of Development

FAP has hired a new part-time Director of Development, Charity Poth! Charity comes with extensive experience in similar work with other non-profit organizations.

Farm Property Found!

We have found an ideal property for the Green Farm Living and Learning Academy located in Fairfield County which is practically in move-in condition. While we continue to explore a variety of funding resources, we badly need the donations from all parents, friends, and our prior supporters! Help us turn our Farm into a reality!

Celebrity Benefit Photo Gallery

Recent Events

The Berkowitz Law Firm

The Berkowitz Law Firm is one of FAP's generous sponsors.

Visit the Berkowitz Law Firm website here.

Networking Moms Group, July 2014

FAP begins a new Networking Moms Group for all parents (dads welcome!) of children and adults with autism and other disabilities.

The group meets on the last Monday of each month at Pizza Post at 522 E Putnam Ave in Cos Cob and provides an opportunity for all parents to share in the struggles, stresses, and joys of parenting a child with autism. Just come! No need to RSVP, although it is appreciated.

Patron Party at the C. Parker Gallery, April 28, 2014

Friends of Autistic People hosted a patron party at the C. Parker Gallery to enjoy an evening of fine art, gourmet hors d'ouvres by Cooking-In, and wine.

The painting collection's highlight was the selection of Peter Max's Marilyn Monroe originals. Presentations were given by two autism professionals: Dr. Dorita Berger, certified Music Therapist, and Talia Ben-Joseph, Expressive Arts Therapist, followed by Takashi Ito, a parent who presented a moving speech about the many gifts given to him by his 13 year old his son with profound autism.

Autism Awareness Day, Apr 2, 2014

Autism Awareness Day at the Capitol in Hartford is sponsored by the Connecticut Autism Action Coalition (CAAC).

The celebration is preceded by a Meet and Greet with several Connecticut legislators including Governor Dannel Malloy, CT Senator Martin Looney, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. This year’s focus is to celebrate the achievements of people with autism, particularly demonstrated by a moving and enlightening speech on growing up with Asperger’s by Kevin Daly, member of CAAC.

Family Hearing Day, Feb 7, 2014

On Family Hearing Day, Brita Darany von Regensburg presents a testimony pleading to reinstate autism-specific services slashed due to DDS budget cuts by the State of Connecticut. This event is a chance for parents and guardians of individuals with disabilities to express their concerns regarding the $30 million cut by Gov. Malloy from the DDS budget. She states that autism therapy programs that help children and adults progress to higher independence are of vital importance for these adults to progress. The testimony is also published as a “Letter to the Editor” in the Greenwich Post.

Music Therapy Clinic, Jan 2014

FAP begins pilot Music Therapy clinic with five students. Board Certified Music Therapist, Dr. Dorita Berger, MT, BC, LCAT , implements a highly-structured individualized lesson plan that helps individuals with autism reach developmental milestones. This program is available to all ability-levels and ages.

The Definition of Autism According to the New DSM-V, Dec 2, 2013

The Definition of Autism According to the New DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) In collaboration with Easter Seals of Stamford, FAP hosts international autism expert Dr. Michael Powers for a superb presentation on the new DSM-5 definition of ASD and its effects on families and their children with autism.

Annual Fundraising Gala with Jane Condon and Autism Speaks, Oct 4, 2013

Friends of Autistic People’s annual fundraising gala honors Autism Speaks’ Executive VP of Strategic Communication, Michael Rosen, and features award-winning comedienne, Jane Condon. The venue of the event is Donald Axleroad’s spectacular waterfront home. Patrons watch the sun set from the large porch while listening to the music of the John Murray Band.

'Into the White: Revelations' with Mathias Alfen, May 18, 2013

Mathias Alfen, renowned sculptor and painter, holds a show Into the White: Revelations and contributes a very generous 25% of the proceeds to Friends of Autistic People. The special exhibit is intended to show Alfen’s artistic expression of his personal experience with autism and to raise autism awareness in the art collector demographic.

R. Michael Dunne Quality of Life Award, 2013

Brita Darany von Regensburg is awarded the R. Michael Dunne Quality of Life Award by the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. Award is presented by Mary Young, Executive Director, Red Cross of Westchester and Fairfield County.

Mythbusting: Discovering what is fact and what is fiction about DDS supports and services, 2013

Robin Wood, Director of Family Support Strategies & Advocacy provide an overview of DDS services and review the department's Five Year plan goals. Michael Blaszko, Case Manager supervisor in the Autism Division speaks about the Autism waivers and what services are available for those on the autism spectrum. Emphasis is placed on helping families understand how new directions that have been recently undertaken by the department will impact families in the future.

Alfen Art gallery, June, 2013

Matthias Alfen, German-born artist, exhibits his white on white paintings and sculptures at his studio barn to benefit Friends of Autistic People.

Vanessa Darany presented her homemade organic apple pie to him in recognition of his great generosity

International Autism Awareness Day in Hartford, April 1, 2012

Forum with U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy

ACAA Summit, May 4, 2012

FAP President Brita Darany von Regensburg and her husband Tibor Darany attended the first ever Summit of the national organization Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism!

It was an exciting event. The Farm Academy planned by FAP will hopefully be the first to introduce the ACAA concept to Connecticut.

Family Fun Day, July 29, 2012

Family Fun Day

Legislative Forum, April 29, 2012

Legislative Forum with Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4)

Proclamation of Friends of Autistic People Month for the Town of Greenwich, April 18, 2012

Greenwich Mayor Peter Tesei proclaimed April, International Autism Month, as "Friends of Autistic People Month".

Roses for Autism Ribbon Cutting, April 24, 2012

FAP President Brita Darany von Regensburg attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Roses for Autism in Branford, CT

Benefit with Peter Yarrow, May 4, 2012

A benefit for the Farm Academy, with special guest Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary.

Deirdre Imus Presentation, May 3, 2010

Activist and celebrity wife Deirdre Imus gave a presentation on personal sustainability at the Audubon Center in Greenwich.

Greenwich Wine Society Event, October 5, 2011

A wine tasting event hosted by the Greenwich Wine Society to benefit FAP

Benefit with Judge Judy, July 25, 2009

FAP's 10th anniversary benefit with Judge Judy Scheindlin.

FAP- Friends of Autistic People - Re: Dr. Jou at Noble Conference Ctr., 4/18/2016

Friends of Autistic People (FAP) and Greenwich Hospital will co-host Dr. Roger Jou, Medical Director at the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience, Yale Child Study Center. at the Noble Conference Center ,in a presentation entitled "Medication, Mental Health, and Autism. on Monday, April 18, at 6:30 PM

FAP Parents Workshop

The Health of Our Children: Embracing a New Paradigm

Laura Parisi, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, March 23, 2009

MetDESK Presentation

Anthony Recck & Kevin McAvoy, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, October 27, 2008

Provision of Health and Clinical Supports

Department of Developmental Services, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, July 28, 2008

Working in Partnership / Home, School and Community Resources: An Overview of DDS Services and Supports

DDS West Region Individual and Family Support Resource Team, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, April 28, 2008

Preparing Students with Autism for Post-Secondary Employment: Making a Seamless Transition from School to Work

Neil Boyle, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, November 26, 2007

Autism Spectrum Disorders Through the Lifespan

Suzanne Letso and Judthi Palazzo, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, September 17, 2007

New Learning Style Gets Results

Phoebe Tucker, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, June 25, 2007

Postsecondary Education Options for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Margaret Kardos, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, May 21, 2007

Employment and Self-Sufficiency for Adults with Autism

Laura di Galbo, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, April 30, 2007

Emergency Preparedness

Cindy Stramandinoli, at Christ Church Greenwich Parish House, March 19, 2007


  • Save the date - Benefit Event Honoring Tommy & Dee Hilfiger
  • French Cinema - French Film Festival feature "Latest News From the Cosmos" by Bertucelli.
  • Punkin Patch Puppies - Friends of Autistic People will receive a donation from Punkin Patch Puppies, when you buy the puppy from them. They are a well-known breeder with a solid reputation.
  • Fairfield Giving day - MARCH 9, 2017 IS GIVING DAY IN CONNECTICUT starting at 12:01 a.m. DO IT NOW, DONATE ONLINE
  • Cruise Campaign Friends of Autistic People will receive a donation of $200 per booking from Eva’s Best Luxury Travel, when you book and travel with them on the following three types of trips: River cruises, Sandals and Beaches Resorts and a wonderful 10 day Oceania cruise they are escorting from Lisbon to Barcelona with travel through Portugal, Spain, France and Monte Carlo.
  • Valentines Day Auction​ - Treat your Valentine to a Special Gift
  • Happy Holidays - Have Fun Bidding - Help Kids with Autism


Tommy & Dee Hilfiger Benefit Event Ticket Information

How to buy a Ticket


  • Sponsor of the VISION - $20,000 ( 10 tickets incl. M & G)
  • Diamond Sponsor - $10,000 ( 8 tickets incl. M & G )
  • Gold Sponsor - $5,000 ( 4 tickets incl. M & G )
  • Silver Sponsor - $1,000 ( 1 ticket incl. M & G )


  • Cheque payable to The FAP.
  • Credit Card

Please fill this form and send it via email at or mail at 974 North Street, Greenwich - CT 06831

About Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 1 in 88 - some say as many as 1 in 50 - children in the USA - and the numbers are rising. Autism affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others and respond appropriately to their environment.

The signs of autism typically appear in the first three years of life. The disorder has no known cause or cure, though treatment can sometimes reduce the symptoms.

Autism manifests itself in individuals in different ways and intensities. Some people with autism are relatively high functioning, with full control of their speech and intelligence. Others are mentally retarded, mute or have serious language delays.

Autism makes some individuals close off and shut down. Others seem locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking.

What is Autism?

Adapted from the CT Autism Spectrum Resource Center

Autism is a group of a neurobiological disorders (also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders) that includes DPP-NOS, autism, and Asperger's syndrome. These conditions generally result in:

  • Delay or absense of speech
  • Impairment of social awareness that can result in unusual interactions with people (i.e. lack of eye contact, misreading of nonverbal social cues, lack of awareness of the feelings or thoughts of others, etc.)
  • Anomalies within the sensory systems that can result in altered sensitivity to touch, sound, light etc. and/or impairment of balance or joint compressions sytems that can result in clumsiness or awkward movements
  • Unusual behavior patterns (i.e. repetitive, seemingly purposeless actions, attachments to unusual objects or a "special interest" in a topic to the exclusion of other activities, etc.)
  • Cognitive thinking systems (such as academic ability) may or may not be affected.

The above behaviors lead to an inability to make and keep friends, an inability to find and hold jobs, and an inability to express themselves.

This, in turn, leads to frustration, anxiety, withdrawal and depression.

Lifelong Training and Supervision

An estimated 60% of adults with autism need lifelong training, supervision and reinforcement of skills. Public schools' responsibility for providing these services ends when the autistic person is 21 years old.

The needs of autistic adults include:

  • Speech/Communication programs. These may include computer language programs, sign language, icon/picture booklets and/or etiquette training.
  • Assisted living arrangements. These include group homes, apartments with appropriate staffing and skilled support services.
  • Nutritional guidance. Much of contemporary research shows links between what autistic children and adults eat, how they behave and how their brains take in their environment.
  • Vocational training and job coaches to help autistic adults find and hold jobs so they may become productive members of society.
  • Psychological therapy to help adults with autism deal with their anxieties, depression and frustrations.

What will happen when your autistic child turns 21?

Where will he live? Will jobs be available to him? Will she continue to receive life skills training from qualified caregivers? Will she be safe?

When autistic children reach age 21, they and their families are left to fend for themselves. Appropriate placements are just not available. The profoundly autistic may find themselves in institutional settings where they stay for the rest of their lives.

turning 21

Our Children Deserve More Options

Friends of Autistic People works to increase the options available to autistic adults, by raising awareness of facts such as:

  • 60% of adults with autism will need care throughout their lives.
  • Adults with autism do not have any government-mandated support after they turn 21.
  • Higher functioning autistic adults get very few services and are often taken care of by their aging parents.

Join Friends of Autistic People

You are not alone. Your struggle is our struggle.

As a group, our lives have all been touched by autism. We are uniquely qualified to serve as emotional supports for each other.

Together, we can change the way autism affects our lives and the lives of our families. Together, we can have one voice. And together, we can make that voice heard.


Membership Benefits

As members of Friends of Autistic People, we can:

  • Attend FAP's lecture series with leading experts.
  • Learn how to navigate the system to obtain services.
  • Receive guidance on how to write our legislators in support of mandated services.
  • Attend forums with legislators at Town Hall meetings.
  • Attend meetings with elected officials on legislation for adult autism.

The Time Is Now

Parents, don't wait until your autistic child is 17, 19, 21. Change in legislation occurs slowly.

Act now to provide security for our children's future... before the time comes when we can no longer take care of them.

Vlounteer and Intern with FAP

As a non-profit organization, the success of our mission is entirely dependent on donations, members� support and volunteer work. Help us make a difference in the lives of grown children with autism. Your support is needed!


We are always looking for help, and we would love to have you assist us with:

  • the operation of our office
  • fundraising efforts
  • letter writing
  • event planning and promotions

Contact Brita Darany von Regensburg at 203-661-8510, or by email to learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities.

Press Articles on The FAP

Fairfield County's Friends Of Autistic People Receives Grant

Greenwich Daily Voice, July 9, 2015. By Robert Berczuk

Advocates Discuss Changes in Autism Services

It's Relevant, October 23, 2013. By Priscilla Lombardi

Friends of Autistic People plan outing

Connecticut Post, July 24, 2012. By John Burgeson

FAP Attends Summit for Agricultural Communities for Autistic Adults

Natural Awakenings, July 2012

Himes attends autism forum

Greenwich Post, May 30, 2012. By Greenwich Post Staff

Friends of Autistic People hosts lunch with Congressman Jim Himes

Greenwich Post, April 25, 2012. By Greenwich Post

Parents gather in Greenwich for autism awareness

Greenwich Time, April 18, 2012. By Lisa Chamoff

Wine tasting, 'barnyard sale' on Oct. 5 to benefit Friends of Autistic People

Greenwich Post, 30 September 2011

For the Children

Greenwich Magazine, May 2011. By Christy Colasurdo

Yarrow to appear at autism fundraiser

Natural Awakenings, April 2011

60's Dance to benefit Friends of Autistic People

Newtown Patch, February 4, 2011. By Cathy Sullivan

Group sets sights on teaching farm for autistic adults

Stamford Advocate, September 10, 2010. By Christina Hennessy, Staff Writer

Autism and aging: When kids grow up

Greenwich Time, July 11, 2010. By Lisa Chamoff, Staff Writer

Jazz Concert to Benefit 'Friends of Autistic People'

Westport Patch, May 8, 2010. By Carol King

Friends of Autistic People 10th Anniversary

Fairfield County Look, July 25, 2009

A 'Friend' and mother

Greenwich Post, October 7, 2004. By Ken Borsuk

"For the Children" Interview Questions

FAP, February 16, 2011. By Christy Colasurdo and Brita Darany von Regensburg

FAP Press Archive

Celebrity Benefit

Jane Condon (2013)

Peter Yarrow (2011)

Peter Yarrow (2011)

Andre Watts (2005)

Kathie Lee Gifford (2005)

Malachy McCourt (2002)

Temple Grandin (2001)

Awards won by FAP

Greenwich Chamber of Commerce's R. Michael Dunne Quality of Life Award: Autism organization recognized, Greenwich Post, Aug. 1, 2013

Brita and Tibor Darany Honored, J apan Society of Fairfield County, 2011

Spirit of Greenwich award, Greenwich Post, Sept. 20, 2007

Darany honored as 'Woman of Spirit', Greenwich Citizen, Aug. 24, 2007

FAP's Darany to receive 'Woman of Spirit' Award, G

reenwich Citizen, Aug. 3, 2007

Award winner Brita Darany is a friend of autistic people, Greenwich Post, July 30, 2007

Local couple honored for work to help the autistic, Greenwich Time, Apr. 25, 2005

Greenwich volunteers honored, Greenwich Post, Apr. 7, 2005

FAP Hosts Experts/Workshops

Talk with Deirdre Imus: Dierdre Imus speaks at Audubon Center, Greenwich Post, July 8, 2010

Workshop with Laura Parisi: Food choices for autistic people, Greenwich time, Mar. 29, 2009

Workshop with Phoebe Tucker: FAP Hosts Event at Christ Church, Greenwich Citizen, June 22, 2007

Experts to speak on spectrum disorders at Monday's FAP meeting, Greenwich Time, Sept. 11, 2007

Peter Gerhardt (2002, 2005)

Panel: Developmentally disabled need more help, Greenwich Time, Jan. 20, 2002

Talk with Larry Wood: Talk centers on autistic adults' needs, Greenwich Time, Apr. 9, 1999

FAP Fundraisers

Conyers Farm cocktail benefit (2008)

Patron Party at Christopher Peacock Cabinetry: Patron Party, Fairfield County Home, 2008

FAP's first patron party: Green Acres, Greenwich Magazine, July 2007

"Art for FAP's Sake" (2004)

Many pitched in to benefit autism organization, Greenwich Time

Whole Foods 5% Days (2004, 2013)

Delamar Hotel cocktail benefit (2003)

Belle Haven cocktail benefit (2001)

"Tropical Breezes" cocktail benefit (2001)

FAP's first benefit: Raising funds and awareness for adults with autism, Greenwich Post, Apr. 6, 2001

FAP to hold first benefit, Greenwich Post, Mar. 16, 2001

FAP's partnerships with the local community

Family Fun Day at Bartlett Arboretum, Stamford: Autism's friends, Greenwich Time, July 26, 2012

FAP to hold first benefit, Greenwich Post, Mar. 16, 2001

Becker Salon assists FAP (2008)

Stephanie Davis' Bat Mitzvah donation (2006)

Costa Brava Restaurant supports FAP (2006)

McArdle's Florist supports FAP (2002-2008)

Pool Party: Friends of Autistic People Pool Party, Greenwich Time, Aug. 17, 2013

Fusions Salon Presents Haircuts for Autism

FAP Walk-a-thons

Greetings at walkathon, Greenwich Post, Dec. 22, 2011

FAP Walkathon, Greenwich Time, July 18, 2006

Brita Darany von Regensburg with Dolly Powers at NAAR Walk-a-thon, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2002

Making strides for autism research, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2002

Articles on FAP's Legislative and Other Advocacy

Tesei proclaims April "Autism Awareness Month", Greenwich Citizen

FAP Autism Awareness Month, 2010: Town gives Friends of Autistic People boost as group aims to build farm, Greenwich Post, Apr. 20, 2010

FAP Autism Awareness Month, 2008: Autism: Town lends support to cause, Apr. 10, 2008

FAP Autism Awareness Month, 2009: Autism awareness, Apr. 29, 2009

Legislative forum with Rep. Chris Shays (2004)

Legislators to meet tomorrow with Friends of Autistics, Greenwich Time, Oct. 17, 2000

Friends of autistics lobby Town Hall, Greenwich Post, Apr. 16, 1999

Articles on FAP's Farm Project

Friends of Autistic People at the ACAA Summit, Greenwich Time, Sept. 3, 2012

FAP dreams of farm: Group home experience spurs search for alternative, State of the Spectrum, Apr. 2011

Group seeks to come to aid of autistic adults, Greenwich Time, Mar. 10, 1999

Articles on FAP's Mission

Warm apple pie, Apr. 28, 2013

Autism and aging: When kids grow up, Greenwich Time, July 11, 2010

Autistic adults too often overlooked, The Advocate, Apr. 3, 2008

The older autistic: what happens when they grow up, Greenwich Time, July 16, 2007

Coping day by day, Greenwich Magazine, Oct. 2003

Friends of Autistic People, Greenwich Time, October 2003

Friends of Autistic People, Greenwich Time, Oct. 2003

Article on FAP's founding and early history

Group says autistic adults need support, Greenwich Post, Oct. 13, 2000

Care lags for adult autistic, Greenwich Time, 1997

It's - Nonprofit Aims to Build Farm for Autistic Adults

Wednesday May 24th 2017

6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Benefit Event Honoring TOMMY & DEE HILFIGER


Click here for the Price Sheet

Friends of Autistic People (FAP) works with families and legislators toward the goal of ensuring that adults with autism receive mandated services that enable them to lead better lives and secure their futures.