Funded by a grant from the Easton Fund for Autism Research, Venciendo al Autismo created a training manual for families with autistic children, and the publication is being hailed as an outstanding example of a grass roots initiative making waves in the critical public health arena.
The production of the manual is the result of a unique collaboration between the Santa Cruz Community Foundation (SCCF), an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and SCCF’s partner Mexican foundation, FESAC Sonora. Together these two organizations facilitated the grant to Venciendo al Autismo, a parent run NPO providing treatment and training services to low income families with autistic children in Nogales, Sonora, since there are not enough psychologists in Mexico to provide the needed therapy and the number of children being diagnosed is on the rise.
This unique manual was featured at an Arizona/Mexico Commission meeting on June 14th in Scottsdale .
Project Team Leader Diana Soto stated:
“The incidence of autism is increasing dramatically. There are not enough trained psychologists to give therapy to children diagnosed with autism in Mexico, therefore, it is critical that families should learn to manage the behavior of their children, to allow the child and his or her family to have a higher quality of life and a positive future, including normal schooling and the possibility of employment. Based on each family’s needs, we researched, created and distributed the first basic training manual. It includes the necessary information regarding home management of autistic children, nutrition, behavioral modification and appropriate public behavior etc. We did 20 family interviews, 3 hours each, to get information about the most important concerns. We went to public schools and interviewed 10 teachers to obtain information about the children’s performance in school. This data was analyzed to create a practical and basic manual of successful techniques for basic skills at home, in the school and community. Once the manual was completed, our team did 5 in-home coaching sessions for each family where we gave them a presentation of the manual with videos, modeling the techniques included in the manual and role-playing. Parents did homework on the exercises in the manual. Based on those results, we continue to provide support to the families and have done case analysis, etc. to guide future research and training. We are applying for second year funding to expand the number of families we can reach and to improve the manual based on the experience of our first year. Our families are overjoyed to have this new tool and the hope it brings for the future of their children. Thanks to CFSA, SCCF and FESAC for their support without which this could never have happened.”
For more information about this program or to sign up for a SCCF/FESAC cross border tour which includes a visit to this unique program for family autism care and training, contact Pat Trulock at Santa Cruz Community Foundation’s Nogales office 520-761-4531 or email her at PTrulock@cfsaz.org.