Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley announced the town board will adopt a proclamation declaring the Irondequoit an Autism-Friendly Community and an expansion of its partnership with the Autism Council of Rochester.
This comes during the annual recognition of April as National Autism Awareness Month.
“The town of Irondequoit is committed to increasing awareness and support for individuals on the autism spectrum and those with other special needs,” said Seeley. “We are proud to become an Autism-Friendly Community and remain committed to continuing to lead the way in ensuring we are an inclusive town, helping to foster a better collective understanding of autism.”
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. At present, there are more than 3.5 million Americans living with autism.
In adopting this proclamation, Irondequoit 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 willingness of the town of Irondequoit to take the next step and apply for the formal autism-friendly designation further exemplifies the town’s commitment to serving the needs of all families, including children, young adults, parents and caregivers living daily with the challenges of Autism,” said Lawana Jones, Autism Council of Rochester. “This designation is in direct alignment with the core values of the town of Irondequoit. Also, April is Autism Awareness Month and the achievement of the autism-friendly designation is a great show of solidarity by the town of Irondequoit to show their commitment and support.”
This designation builds off the work of the Irondequoit Police Department, which has a long-standing partnership with the Autism Council. The IPD conducts an annual roll call training for patrol officers with information about autism, and each officer is provided with an autism awareness pocket card that provides communication cues and guidelines. The IPD also hosts an Autism Awareness Day for families and individuals to interact with first responders.
“We strive to serve all of our stakeholders in a very professional manner and we have been able to resolve a number of situations involving individuals on the autism spectrum in a very positive way for individuals, families and police officers,” said Irondequoit Police Chief Richard Tantalo.
Irondequoit will work with the Autism Council to ensure it is adhering to the Eight Pillars of Performance for autism-friendly communities. This includes: training resources; community partnerships; safety, health and accessibility; caring and connection; commitment and change; inclusion opportunity; program choices; and communication.