My Philadelphia Autism Project and the Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training (ASERT) Collaborative Eastern Region is providing seed funding to address our goal of impacting underserved and underrepresented populations living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the city of Philadelphia. Specifically we are providing funds to individuals, faith-based organizations and grassroots groups working to creatively and innovatively connect with African American, Latino, African, Caribbean, Asian and deaf communities across the city.
Support is also being provided so organizations that are utilized by the larger community, like libraries, museums, and the theatre can become welcoming and inclusive spaces for individuals and families living with autism. Groups selected to receive seed money are from across the city and projects include a wide variety of topics. All seed projects adhere to the guiding principles of the Philadelphia Autism Project and are aligned with the initiatives generated by project stakeholders.
Project: African and Caribbean Autism Awareness program
This Autism Awareness Program is designed by the Coalition of African Communities and seeks to address cultural and language barriers and reduce health disparities. This program will include an educational workshop and the development of a video about autism spectrum disorders to help increase awareness, educate and support the African and Caribbean community. In addition to these awareness raising events, this program will also develop and administer a needs assessment to understand the specific needs of this community.
Project: Autism Awareness Community Weekend
The Church of the Redeemer Baptist hosted an Autism Awareness Community Weekend during the month of April for Autism Awareness Month and will be hosting another event to continue to increase autism awareness in their community by providing information, resources & support. The event will target individuals with autism of all ages and across the spectrum, as well as parents/caregivers, family members and community members.
Project: Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Collaborative Care for Asian American Pacific Islander Communities
With a focus on autism, a coalition of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)-serving organizations will test a collaborative care model to eliminate cultural and linguistic barriers, and reduce education and physical and behavioral health disparities among AAPI communities. An important component of this model is a one day summit to allow attendees to expand the capacity to provide appropriate diagnosis and assessment of individuals with an ASD by improving cultural competency among health professionals and educators.
Project: Grand Central – Relative As Parents Program (RAPP)
One of the most challenging aspects of being a relative caregiver of a child with autism is first understanding the diagnosis and then finding the resources to support both the family and the child. This program will serve grandparents, who are caring for their grandchildren with an ASD, by enhancing their ASD knowledge and providing a connection to community resources and supports.
Project: Pennsylvania School for the Deaf: Plan to Pilot a Modification of the M-CHAT
The goal of this project is to modify the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT) to meet the identification needs of children who are deaf. This will allow a standardization of this instrument for use at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD), as well as other schools for the deaf, generating more accurate empirical evidence. This modification could potentially lead to earlier identification and earlier interventions for these individuals.
Project: Philadelphia Museum of Art Autism Inclusivity Training
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Division of Education and Public Programming staff will attend Autism Inclusivity Training at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to learn best practices and participate in comprehensive inclusivity training from service providers in Philadelphia. This training will allow PMA to create more inclusive programming, improve environmental accessibility, and more fully respond to the needs and preferences of individuals with an ASD and their families.
Project: Sensory Story Time Events: Lower Moyamensing Civic Association
The goal of these sensory story time events at the Fumo Family Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is to present a welcoming and inclusive story-time for children with ASD and their families. The Lower Moyamensing Civic Association will receive seed money funding to be used to support the purchase of content-based materials for sensory story time events at the Fumo Family Branch. Sensory Story Time events will occur monthly and will include books, music, and sensory activities for children with an ASD and their caregivers.
Project: Sensory Story Time Events: Friends of Torresdale Library
The goal of these sensory story time events is to create an activity for individuals with autism and their families and to help them feel more comfortable and familiar visiting and using the library resources. The Friends of Torresdale Library will receive seed money funding to be used to support the purchase of content-based materials for sensory story time events at the Torresdale Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, respectively. Sensory Story Time events will occur monthly and will include books, music, and sensory activities for children with an ASD and their caregivers.
Project: Sharon Baptist Church Victory Club
The Sharon Baptist Church Victory Club will help this faith-based community to create a welcoming environment for families of individuals with an ASD and increase awareness of ASD through education and training programs for the congregation and the surrounding community. Specific activities include: educating parents and caregivers on how to navigate the school system, making parents and caregivers aware of the medical and therapeutic resources that are available, and helping to provide families with respite.
Project: Voting on the Spectrum
Voting on the Spectrum is a program designed to assist adults (ages 18 and over) with autism to understand the voting and election process, including voter registration. The project will involve group meetings to explain the importance of voting, discussions about candidates, and field trips to register to vote and to procure proper I.D.
Project: Walnut Street Theatre School Class for Children on the Autism Spectrum
The Walnut Street Theatre will implement a new six-week theater class for adolescents with ASD. The class will teach the fundamentals of acting in a safe and controlled environment, helping attendees to develop social skills and self-expression. This funding will help to produce a program that will create welcoming environment for individuals with autism and their families, while also increasing opportunities for meaningful community participation and expanding the potential to implement similar programs at this and other theaters in Philadelphia.
Project: Video Series: Autism in African American Families and Autism in Hispanic and Latino Families
T he Philadelphia Autism Project is also proud to support Karen Krivit in her development of a series of ground breaking family focused films that will be launched at Philadelphia area libraries. These videos and screening events further support our goal of impacting underserved and underrepresented populations living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the city of Philadelphia. A series of ground breaking family focused films will be created and then debuted at Philadelphia area libraries. The films focus on the emotional reality of dealing with a diagnosis, how it affects the family unit, and the unique challenges that families from diverse cultural backgrounds face. The goal of these videos is to increase awareness, in order to help children from underserved families to become better armed to obtain equal services. Two screenings of “Autism in African American Families” are scheduled at local library branches. The first screening will take place on Saturday, May 30th and a second screening will take place on Saturday, June 13th. Visit www.phillyautismproject.org for more information.