Autism and Mental Health Work Group

Had our first policy work group today discussing bringing families, individuals, and advocacy groups together to raise awareness of the needs of people who live with autism and mental health challenges. We'll be reaching out to more families and local advocacy groups in the coming months to create a unified focus on the needs of the dual diagnosed community.

Program Updates

I've been busy working to develop the business plan of the foundation to help guide fundraising efforts. New program and funding initiatives are listed on the Projects page of www.sanchia.org. I'll list them here as well. I'm excited for the great things we can do for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Please consider making a donation either  through the website or via the foundation's gofundme page.

 

Residential Youth Activities Fund

The Mohawk Hard-to-Place Unit of the Children’s Home in Schenectady, NY is the home for youth who have been in residential care for a significant part of their lives. This was Sanchia’s last work place. The Residential Youth Activities Fund will provide the funding  for onsite and community activities that give residents a fuller more rounded life experience.

 

Garrison House

Families and individuals with developmental disabilities are seeking independent living solutions for family members and themselves in increasing numbers. The service continuum after an individual reaches the age of 21, the age when school age serves end and adult services begin, is not sufficient to meet the housing needs for people with developmental disabilities. Garrison House is a hybrid program drawing on the resources of the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to create independent living solutions tailored to the needs of the individual. In doing so the program also creates housing solutions for students in related fields seeking real world experience and people in need of stable housing opportunities.

 

Autism and Mental Health Initiative

According to Data USA the clinician to patient ratio for mental health across all counties in New York state is 1 to 202. There are not enough health care providers to go around. Within that insufficient group of providers, the number who are equipped and willing to meet the needs of people with autism who also have mental health issues is smaller still. Families fight against barriers to access to find that the care that the need is only available hours away in another city or another state. The Autism and Mental Health Initiative is a coordinated effort with community partners to raise awareness of the mental health needs of people on the autism spectrum and create a movement that brings the necessary state, federal, and county resources to the Syracuse community.

Upcoming Events

We have two events scheduled during April so far. First we are working with community partners in Syracuse, NY to provide a study center for students in the city. The Learner's Cafe will have free wifi, computers, a printer, and plenty of coffee to keep learners going in all their endeavors. Open house festivities are on April 8, 2018 3pm-7pm at 501 W Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13204.

The second is the second in our series of discussions on addressing trauma in the community. Our topic of discussion is the  power or relationships to build resilience. We'll will also be working on building a toolbox of effective relationship building techniques. April 21, 2018 12pm-3pm at 501 W Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13204.

SACF Founder at NYS ASD Advisory Board Public Forum

Read the written comments I submitted at the New York state Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Board Upstate Public Forum on February 13, 2018. Speakers had 3 minutes so I gave a summary of the written comments as well. Education, self-direction, mental healthcare, and representation of autistic voices featured heavily in my spoken and written comments.

Into the New Year

As this year winds down and we look to the future we also look back. Here at SACF we are transforming loss into hope. We look back at what drove the woman we honor for inspiration as we move forward.

“I have to make every effort to improve outcomes for individuals society likes to label disabled. There is often a failure to recognize the ability of such individuals because of the focus placed on their disability. As is the case with animals, children and adults with disabilities or impairments often lack the tools for self advocacy or the individuals around them fail to comprehend information that is being communicated. My goals in life personally and academically are to educate, and advocate for individuals with disabilities, or different abilities, and their families, caretakers, service providers and educators.” 

Sanchia Callender

Join us as we create the road map for the work to come.