Autism Council recognizes Town’s commitment to autism awareness and inclusion
Town Supervisor Bill Smith announced the Pittsford Town Board adopted a proclamation at its meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 declaring the Town of Pittsford an Autism Friendly® Community and announcing its partnership with the Autism Council of Rochester. Lawana Jones, President and CEO of the Autism Council of Rochester, was present for the proclamation.
“The Town of Pittsford is committed to serving and supporting those living with autism, whether they are residents or visitors,” said Supervisor Smith. “Our partnership with The Autism Council of Rochester is an invaluable resource to help us in this effort,” he continued. “The specialized training our Library, Recreation and other staff have received will benefit both individuals with autism and their families. Becoming an Autism Friendly® Community underscores Pittsford’s long-held dedication to inclusivity and will help foster a better understanding of autism in our community and beyond,” Smith said.
The Autism Friendly® designation is established for municipalities that are willing to increase awareness and support for children, young adults and families in the community living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the fastest growing developmental disability in the world today. At present, there are more than 3.5 million Americans living with autism. The Autism Friendly® designation goes beyond a symbolic expression of support. In adopting this proclamation, the Town of Pittsford is affirming its commitment to working with the Autism Council of Rochester to educate and train Town staff to better serve those constituents living with ASD.
The Town’s partnership with the Autism Council will be ongoing. “One in 58 children are diagnosed with Autism,” said Autism Council president and CEO Lawana Jones. “This increased prevalence makes it essential that we continue to work together to ensure our communities are welcoming, safe, inclusive, and barrier free for all citizens,” Jones said. Autism Friendly® designation provides the opportunity for future funding and Community Access grants.
“I’m so proud of this designation for Pittsford,” said Town Deputy Supervisor Kate Bohne Munzinger, who serves as Town Board lead for the initiative. “In my personal life and through my work and service to the community I have had the wonderful opportunity to connect with many individuals who are differently abled. Each brings a unique value to our community. Offering a welcoming and supportive place for those on the autism spectrum and their families is so important.”
The Town of Pittsford will continue to work with the Autism Council while supporting the 8 Pillars of Performance for Autism Friendly® Communities. These include training resources; community partnerships; safety, health and accessibility; caring and connection; commitment and change; inclusion opportunity; program choices; and communication.