Andrews Represents Local Task Force At Forum On Autism

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County Autism Task Force was recently represented by Stephanie Andrews at a forum on Autism in Rome, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo of the 47th District, and Senator McDonald of the 43rd District.

Pictured are: Martha Diane Ford, Senator McDonald, Stephanie Andrews, and Senator Griffo.
Pictured are: Martha Diane Ford, Senator McDonald, Stephanie Andrews, and Senator Griffo.

Andrews’ participation was an effort to gather information and bring it to the Oswego County Community as the local Task Force sets out in 2009-10 with the continuing mission to enhance the lives of those touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Senator McDonald is the head of the Task Force on Autism and Related Disabilities and has been a leader among his colleagues regarding disability and autism awareness.

With two grandsons, Jacob and David, both of whom suffer from autism, McDonald has sponsored legislation to guarantee that informational booklets would be given to emergency first responders on persons with autism, so that they would be more adequately prepared to react in those situations.

Forum discussion ensued about the idea that autism is at epidemic proportions and that the two senators are on a mission to bring an aggressive agenda to enact legislation.

One that will get the kind of support and acknowledgment that it deserves.

They both acknowledged that families are in crises and that more needs to be done to improve our schools, our communities and our overall awareness of how this disorder will ultimately affect us as a country.

A panel of professionals assembled to give an overview of what is being experienced at each of their agencies / schools.

During the course of the forum there was discussion to include what is referred to as the Macro and the Micro parts of their agenda.

The Macro being what causes Autism and how can we cure it, and the Micro being the every day life of autism – working with agencies, schools and, most importantly, the families.

There was discussion on sensory integration; contextual performance and how individuals with autism often feel as if they are on stage all day; communication and the idea that there is more than one method of communicating; understanding of the individual perspective and that “normal” is not necessarily the goal.

Each panelist drove home the idea that we, as a society, need to broaden our perception for diversity and eradicate boundaries.

We need to approach this epidemic with education, clinical, vocational and social-emotional supports in order to be effective.

The Oswego County Autism Task Force will be hosting a series of workshops and panels throughout the up coming school year, including a communication notebook seminar.

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