Information Sharing Initiatives
As a member of the Interagency Task Force on Autism, OPWDD helped to develop New York State's Autism Web Site, NYacts (http://nyacts.com/). The Task Force launched this site in January 2010. It is designed to be a comprehensive resource offering reliable information on autism and services available from New York State's service agencies, related news and events.
Current Status - OPWDD continues to manage the ongoing development and maintenance of this web site, working with a committee of representatives from eight other State agencies that meets quarterly. The committee is exploring ways to expand the visibility and content of the site and its usefulness to New York families.
Multi-agency Public Awareness Campaign
Following completion of the New York State Interagency Task Force on Autism, OPWDD launched a multi-agency public awareness campaign aimed at increasing awareness of ASDs, the need for early identification of children with ASDs, and the NYacts Web site. Together with eight other State agency partners, OPWDD has helped to inform staff within those nine agencies and the agencies' respective circles of external stakeholders about ASDs, the need to identify children who may be at risk, and how to contact New York State agencies for services and supports.
Current Status - Phase 3 of the 3-phase public awareness campaign concluded in April 2011. In this phase, the agencies worked together to bring the awareness message to the public, disseminating information through New York's public libraries. For more information, visit (http://nyacts.com/).
OPWDD Autism Communications
OPWDD is dedicated to moving accurate, up-to-date information about ASDs and New York State services to assist individuals with ASDs to those who need it. It routinely updates its own Autism Platform web page and NYacts with news and information, including an events calendar, and contributes information about OPWDD activities related to autism to conferences, forums and discussions. In addition, the agency has established an internal communication mechanism to keep its employees across the state informed of Autism Platform progress and developments.
Each year in April, OPWDD marks Autism Awareness Month in New York State with a series of special activities, including the annual Elizabeth A. Connelly Memorial Conference on Autism hosted by the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities on Staten Island. The Connelly conference, now in its fifth year, brings experts from across the globe together to share information and advance understanding of ASDs.
Current Status- This year, OPWDD staff completed a yearlong, multi-agency ASD public awareness campaign that culminated in outreach to the public through New York State's public libraries during April. This effort demonstrated how libraries can serve individuals with ASDs and their families.
Additional Initiatives Under Development:
- Promotion of Interpreter Services
- Improving Cross System Data Sharing
- Promotion of ASD Trainings to NYS School Districts and Service Providers
- Dissemination of information regarding eligibility for services from multiple agencies