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Archaeologists for Autism - a fun day for folks on the Autism spectrum.

Archaeologists for Autism
Saturday, October 12, 2024 — 9:30am - 3:00pm
Pavilions 4-6 at Wickham Park in Melbourne

April 5, 2024
Archaeologists for Autism: an annual event for children & young adults on the autism spectrum where they can experience archaeology. Providing an annual event for children & young adults on the autism spectrum where they can experience archaeology.

April is autism awareness month and when we begin planning the annual AFA event. This year we will hold AFA on Saturday October 12 at Pavilions 4-6 at Wickham Park in Melbourne! There are plenty of spots available for your children!!! Those of you who registered in the past still are good to go!

We are looking for exhibitors for our event, especially flintknappers.

WE are welcoming any participants with Down Syndrome this year!! We also welcome those with:

  • Angelman Syndrome
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Autism
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Lanau-Kleffner Syndrome
  • Pediatric Auto-immune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS)
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Tardive Dyskinesia
  • Williams Syndrome
Registration links are found at:

April 5, 2024 UPDATE
We are accepting applications through August 17th for participants, vendors, exhibitors and volunteers.
We are looking at October 12th or 19th for the event.

FACEBOOK: January 10, 2024
Thomas Penders is with Nell Miller Penders and 40 others

Folks I need to reschedule #archaeologistsforautism.

With a cancer issue with a family member, Nell in the hospital after 3 months of post-COVID issues, and the uncertainty of my foot ulcers and infection we just don't have our act together. All this hit in the past 4 months. I do know that I'm probably going on 24/7 IV antibiotics next week or so.

I am shooting for AFA in October. Hopefully I will have 2 whole legs instead of 1 1/2 legs. If I do lose half my leg by then I should have a prosthetic, etc.

If there is any silver lining everyone who signed up as a vendor, exhibitor and participant has their place guaranteed. Plus we will continue to accept participants signing up.

I will say this. AFA is not closing down. I'm too stubborn! I'm tired of seeing groups and individuals bailing on our kids, telling us our kids are too low functioning, etc. I made a promise to myself after Becky was kicked out of rock climbing I will never bail on our kids. In 2019 I had sepsis and couldn't walk. The doctors said I wasn't going to make it. We organized AFA and held the event in 3 months. I sincerely apologize for the postponement. I've never allowed my medical issues to affect AFA. I feel rotten. This is totally on me.

Nell Miller Penders:
It's not all on him, blame me also. I told him he has to focus on his health right now & that everyone will understand.

Thomas E. Penders, MS, RPA
Founder and President
Archaeologists for Autism
3365 Heather Drive, Titusville, Florida 32796
Ph:321-307-0075, 321-307-1314

Annual Archaeologists for Autism
Unlocking their potential through archaeology since 2014

Archaeologists for Autism
3365 Heather Drive, Titusville, Florida 32796
(321) 307-1314 or (321) 307-0075

Important REGISTRATION Dates:

Archaeologists for Autism is looking for vendors and exhibitors for our annual event. If you are archaeology, paleontology, history, autism and related disorders related we would love to have you at our event.
Tom Penders
2022 AFA sponsors
2022 AFA thank yous
Tom Penders
2022 AFA thank yous


The Archaeologists for Autism mission is to unlock the potential of children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

We aim to provide children with autism spectrum disorders and their families a chance to experience archaeology in a fun, low stress environment.

Who Can Participate?

Has the person in your family on the spectrum ever wanted to excavate actual artifacts (some 8,000 years old)? Excavate fossils? Touch and hold actual artifacts? Learn how prehistoric peoples lived? Do they like prehistoric animals? What about playing with clay to make pots? We have all these activities and more!

Our annual event is open to children 6 through 17 and young adults 18 to 22 (including homeschooled) who have one or more of the following diagnosis:

Angelman Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Fragile X Syndrome, Lanau-Kleffner Syndrome, Pediatric Auto-immune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated withStreptococcal infections (PANDAS), Prader-Willi Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, Rett Syndrome, Tardive Dyskinesia, Williams Syndrome

2024: We also accept those with Down Syndrome as well as those with other disabilities (Please contact us prior to registering).

Checking out fossils
Tom Penders with Becky
Founder Tom Penders with his daughter Becky.


To our Facebook site.     To our website.   eMail us.


We are not just looking for monetary donations. Please review our list. We are in need of equipment, educational materials, goodie bag items, replica fossils and real unprovenenced megafauna/Pleistocene fossils, replica and real unprovenenced artifacts, broken replicated pots, etc.

Your donation of equipment and supplies may be tax deductible. Please check with your tax professional.

If you can help us please email us at

Thanks!!!!           Tom Penders

March, 2017 logo for Archaeologists for Autism
March 31, 2017
I am happy to present to you the new Archaeologists for Autism logo. We have a more mature and professional design. The logo was cretaed and donated to us. This is now the official look for AFA.

The autism puzzle pieces symbolize the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Those puzzle pieces have been modified to reflect a pot that an archaeologist might recreate from sherds found at a site. Until the pot is reassembled it is a mystery as to its shape and function. In both cases, we try to reassemble the pieces to have a better understanding. The red-blue-green-yellow colors associated with the autism puzzle pieces have been changed to an earthier version of these colors and might more correctly represent the color palettes that are present in an archaeologist's world.

2/25/17 -- 1/6/2023