Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital
Syracuse, New York
Carroll Grant, 315-472-4404
The Kohl's Autism and Related Disorders Outreach Program
The Kohl's Autism and Related Disorders Outreach Program is designed to reach the general public, professionals, students and families with a child with autism in the Central New York (CNY) region. The Program has two components: Community Autism Outreach and Awareness and Community Autism Education.
- Community Autism Outreach and Awareness The program hosts several community events specifically promoting autism awareness and education, such as Autism Awareness Walk, Autism Family Education and Fun days. These events are open to the general public. In addition, the program participates at major community events, such as the New York State Fair, promoting autism and education.
- Community Autism Education: The program provides qualified staff to consult with professionals, students and parents on how best to support children with autism and to teach children about autism. This education is accomplished though a specifically designed curriculum and puppet workshop (KidSpeak), and through multiple outreach training sessions, including an Autism Education Day. Beginning in 2009-10, Web based education will be available through a specifically designed site addressing the needs of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The new web-based tool will provide a comprehensive list of autism education and other helpful resources together in one place for the entire community.
Successful tactics for making our program known in our community:
- Most of the major events are scheduled during April, which is the month identified for autism awareness. The media is looking for newsworthy articles of interest that focus on autism during this month. In addition, there is increased volunteer interest willing to help support events, including Associates in Action involvement.
- We've partnered with other community groups that have an interest in promoting autism. The program has established collaborative arrangements with other volunteer (e.g. parent groups: CNY Autism Society of America, and For Effective Autism Treatment FEAT) and non-profit agencies (e.g. Central New York Coalition for Young Children with Special Needs) who share a concern about autism and want to promote awareness and education. Combining resources with these other groups has been instrumental in hosting large events such as the Autism Walk; Autism Fun Days and Autism Education Day.
- Established relationships with media helps facilitate access and ease in promoting the program on an annual basis. There are individuals in radio, television and newspaper who recognize the expertise available through the Kohl's Autism and Related Disorder Outreach Program and will ask for news items and information related to autism, especially during April. Paid advertising through radio, TV and print as well.
- We've created a highly visible and successful educational puppet workshop, KidSpeak, a Traveling Puppet Workshop on Autism and Aspergers. Almost every time the workshop is presented, the school immediately requests a return date for another class. In addition, there are additional referrals from other schools as the positive reputation of the workshop spreads.