Several years ago, when seeking assistance for our son Tom, we were fortunate to develop a relationship with Saratoga Bridges and their amazing team of hard-working, knowledgeable staff. Since then, this connection has truly been our ‘bridge’ in obtaining information, resources and support. Throughout our journey, we have tapped into many of the programs they offer.
Their SASSI (Specialized Autism Support Services for Individuals & their families) team visited our home on several occasions to assess concerns we had pertaining to behavior challenges and support strategies. Their recommendations have been very helpful. One of the most notable outcomes was that after Tom enjoyed taking an Autism Movement Therapy (AMT) class at Saratoga Bridges, we now have the instructor coming to our home to give him one-on-one yoga sessions (pictured below). He is learning relaxation techniques, improving focus and gaining greater flexibility. They also suggested that Tom might benefit from Occupational Therapy to address some of our concerns. The OT did a full evaluation and Tom is now receiving weekly therapy supported by our reimbursement funds.
When we asked Tom what his favorite activity with Saratoga Bridges is, he replied right away, “Dinner and Discussion Club — because I get to cook with friends and have fun!” This activity (pictured left) is an opportunity for him to prepare and enjoy a meal while developing better social skills and creating new friendships. It gives us great joy to see how much he enjoys these activities.
Saratoga Bridges has helped us as well. We have attended many of their Family Education and Training workshops. The Planning for the Future session had the most impact on us. Thanks to what we learned, we have a Special Needs Trust for Tom that gives us tremendous confidence and peace of mind knowing that his lifestyle and benefits will be protected. We are receiving guidance on the Guardianship process and completing paperwork for future residential options. Families can be assured that Saratoga Bridges’ compassionate, caring staff add value and meaning to the entire family.
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On behalf of our family, we ask that you share your blessings with Saratoga Bridges.
With our gratitude,
Saratoga Bridges has an umbrella of Family Support services, programs and activities. We proudly provide the following programs that are a lifeline for families with a loved one with a developmental disability; however, they are not funded or partially funded through revenue sources. Please consider making a donation to ensure that they continue to be offered throughout 2018!
Adult Social Club offers recreation and social activities to people over 21 who reside with their families and are Medicaid eligible. They plan their own activities locally and take excursions on weekends as well.
Annual Autism Expo and Art Exhibit is a free family event that provides a plethora of vital resources in one place. Attendees obtain information, services and supports for recreational programs, camps, technology, academic programs (pre-k to college) and therapeutic programs. Hosted with the Upstate Autism Alliance, the event includes an art show featuring artists with disabilities, sensory room and kid’s activities supervised by Skidmore College students.
Autism Movement Therapy combines dance, music and exercise experiences for children. Sensory integration is incorporated to improve behavioral, emotional, academic, social, speech and language skills.
Community Habilitation is designed to encourage community integration and build skill while utilizing local resources. Families can be confident their child is safely cared for by a well-trained Direct Support Professional who works directly with the individual and family on established goals. People must be enrolled in the Medicaid Waiver Program and deemed eligible for services by OPWDD to be considered depending on available service hours.
Dinner & Discussion Club incorporates preparing and eating a meal together for teens and young adults. Facilitated by a Behavior Specialist and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, the participants enjoy collaborating while learning better social skills and creating new friendships.
Educational Advocate is responsible for informing families of laws and regulations pertaining to the Individual Education Plan, working closely with the child’s team to advocate for services and educational supports, connecting with school districts and conducting evening seminars.
Family Education and Training relays pertinent issues on numerous topics. It is a Medicaid Waiver Service for families with a child who is OPWDD eligible and under 18. Parents or guardians must attend 1 to 2 seminars per year to maintain their child’s Medicaid eligibility (if they do not receive another waiver service). We collaborate with AIM Services, Inc. to offer minimally one monthly seminar.
Family Reimbursement provides financial assistance to families for expenses incurred in the care of a loved one living at home. These cash subsidies are not covered by any insurance plan. They assist with services or items such as respite coverage, technology, clothing, educational assistance, social skills programs, clinical therapies, sensory items, equipment and recreational memberships.
February Break Program is a fun-filled, structured, recreational and educational week for children ages 8-15.
Guardianship assists families in securing legal representation including the 17-A Guardianship Petition and provides information for lifelong planning services, insurance and estate planning.
The McDonald Family Resource & Discovery Center is located at our Administrative Building and contains sensory equipment, books, technology equipment, dvds, resource materials and a lending library.
Respite gives parents and families an opportunity to renew, refresh and attend to other obligations. Families can be confident their child is safely cared for in their home by a well-trained Direct Support Professional who works directly with the individual and family to carry out the developed service. People must be enrolled in the Medicaid Waiver Program and deemed eligible for services by OPWDD to be considered depending on available service hours.
SASSI (Specialized Autism Support Services for Individuals & their families) consists of an Occupational Therapist and/or a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant recommending ways to address sensory needs, dining issues, safety awareness, technology and relaxation techniques at home and/or school. A Behavior Specialist can conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment to suggest positive behavioral support strategies at home and/or school.
Sibshops are recreational opportunities for brothers and sisters of children with special needs to express their feelings in a supportive group format.
Spectrum Link is a community-based recreation group for teens and young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and ther high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders. Participants enjoy a variety of activities and learn safety awareness, self-defense, independent skill building and explore vocational choices.
Support Group is for family members with loved ones who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Whispering Willow Children’s Yoga is a 6-week program offered bi-annually, for children ages 5–17 who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It promotes strength, flexibility, focus, concentration and a sense of calmness, tranquility and peace.