Autism Acceptance

In This Together: Autism Mental Health Initiative of CNY Documentary Project Begins Filming

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Filming began in early June on our documentary exploring the experiences of families and individuals in Central New York as they try to find the right mental health support for autistic family members or themselves.

Part of Sanchia A Callender, Inc’s Autism Mental Health Initiative, the documentary is an opportunity for families and individuals to tell their own stories shedding light on the unmet mental health support needs of autistic people and people with other developmental disabilities.

People often struggle alone and in silence without appropriate mental health support. Our documentary aims to help people recognize that they are not alone and to engender a conversation among parents and impacted youth and adults about what can be done to increase the services that meet their needs.

Support for this documentary project comes from the Central New York Community Foundation.

AMI CNY: Autism & Mental Health Initiative in Central New York

In 2018, Samantha and Christina, two moms of children on the autism spectrum with mental health challenges, joined forces to give voice to a need in our community.  When children on the spectrum need a child psychiatrist, the choices are slim in Central New York.  There are not nearly enough of these specialists in outpatient settings, and local parents are resorting to several options when seeking medication management for their children.  Medicating our children is not a decision we take lightly.  We believe that trained professionals in the field of psychiatry should be the ones prescribing and managing those medications.  However, not all child psychiatrists have expertise in understanding treatment for those on the autism spectrum.  Some children use limited verbal communication or are nonverbal.  Some primary care physicians are prescribing in a pinch when our children are seen in emergency room settings and have prescriptions going forward.  Some developmental pediatricians are prescribing because they are familiar with our children’s challenges, but again, they are not psychiatrists.

Access For All: Autism Mental Health Initiative

Access For All: Autism Mental Health Initiative

When our children have a psychiatric emergency, the options are even more limited if an inpatient hospital stay is needed.  There are currently no inpatient hospital programs in our state which adequately serve children with a developmental disability plus a mental health diagnosis.  So, one of two things happens: an emergency room keeps the child until they are transferred to an appropriate hospital (often out of state), or the family goes home to weather the storm and get on a wait list of a proper inpatient program.  Neither of these options is acceptable.

The Autism Mental Health Initiative of Central New York, AMI of CNY, is committed to the improvement of both the outpatient and inpatient settings of child psychiatry services for children in Central New York.  We are listening to our local legislators, and asking them to look to us.  We have a Facebook group where parents of dually diagnosed children and young adults can share information and find comfort in each other’s daily victories and challenges.  If this is an issue close to your heart, please reach out and take part in this local effort with us!

Creativity Expo 2019

Creativity Expo 2019

We’re celebrating autistic people during the month of April with our first Creativity Expo. In partnership with ArtSurge, a program of ARC of Onondaga, we’ve created a fun family and disability friendly event for our community. Families and individuals are invited to take part in hands on activities including dance lessons, painting, and music.

Caregivers are invited to relax and take part in the self-care workshops that will be offered alongside day’s activities. We want everyone to have a great time while highlighting autism acceptance and cultivating the creative talents of autistic people. Registration and volunteer information is available at Creativity Expo.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

9:00AM-10:00AM Check-in

10:00AM-2:00PM Workshops

1342 Lancaster Ave

Syracuse, NY 13210