Since the number of children that have a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum continues to increase exponentially, it became glaringly apparent to us that we needed to make a strong commitment to research how best to serve children with an Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. We established an Autism Task Force in early 2006. It is comprised of agency professionals and parents.
The purpose and mission statement is “Saratoga Bridges Autism Task Force will research, identify and implement programs, support services, educational and training opportunities that will create a best practice for staff and families. In addition, and most important, develop ‘person first’ community opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Our goal is to provide a wide myriad of resources to demonstrate our sincere intent and resolve of offering the highest level of services to people on the Autism Spectrum and their families.
We do have a proven track record as being an agency that supports children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. In fact, when State Senator Roy McDonald (a grandfather of two boys with autism) was in office has worked collaboratively with Saratoga Bridges. We hosted an Autism Awareness Symposium in 2008 and other panel discussions that have provided Capital Region families, friends and caregivers with the opportunity to gather information about how the state legislature can best support them. Also, Senator McDonald has been instrumental in securing Legislative Grants for our Family Support Services.
Saratoga Bridges officially opened The McDonald Family Resource and Discovery Center in November of 2011 at our Administrative Building in recognition of all of the McDonald Family support. We realized a need and decided to create a venue complete with sensory equipment, books, DVD’s, resource materials and lending library while providing a bridge to link skills learned in a school environment to their home and community environment. It is utilized by our Sibshops Program and for various support groups and workshops as well.
For more information, please contact Sarah Slagle, Assistant Director of Family Support Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-587-0723 ext. 1254.