September 12, 2019

Golisano Autism Center Officially Opens

Tom Golisano cutting the ribbon at the Golisano Autism Center grand opening

Following two years of planning and construction, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today to officially open the new Golisano Autism Center. The innovative one-stop autism hub offers a multitude of educational, social, recreational, and therapeutic supports and services for children and adults. Open 12 hours daily, seven days a week, the Center is a collaborative community of more than fourteen autism service providers, led by founding partners Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, and CP Rochester.

The new 33,000 sq. ft. building is named for Tom Golisano, philanthropist and Chairman of Paychex and the Golisano Foundation Chairman. Mr. Golisano donated $3 million toward the launching of the Center in May 2017.

Following remarks, which included recognition of many of the donors who have helped make the Center possible, a ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held. Tours of the new Center were available for media immediately following the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony were: Sarah Milko, Executive Director of AutismUp; Mary Walsh Boatfield, President and CEO of CP Rochester; Thomas O’Connor, President of Al Sigl Community of Agencies; Tom Golisano, Philanthropist, Paychex and Golisano Foundation Chairman and Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation Director.

The Center will eventually be connected the future Golisano Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, that is currently under construction.

Golisano Autism Center exterior rendering

Golisano Autism Center Services to Span a Lifetime

EVALUATION – Early Intervention, Developmental and Diagnostic Evaluations to be provided at the Center by CP Rochester and Happiness House.

EARLY INTERVENTION – Room to Bloom Therapy will operate a developmental group on site and offer speech and occupational therapy to children ages birth to three.

PRESCHOOL – 24 children will be served by CP Rochester and Happiness House operating one full day and two half day Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder classes consistent with NYS Special Education Department 4410 requirements.

CHILD CARE – CP Rochester or Happiness House will operate child care services licensed by NYS Office of Children and Family Services for children ages birth to twelve.

SCHOOL-AGED EDUCATION SERVICES  – Mary Cariola Children’s Center will offer three full-day, Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder specific classes serving 18 children ages 5– 21 (classroom age range span three years). Educational programming will be individualized and specialized to meet the complex needs of students based on their unique needs.

AFTER SCHOOL/RESPITE – Mary Cariola Children’s Center, CP Rochester and AutismUp will offer services to youth older than those served in traditional child care, but not yet ready/able to be home alone after school or day program. These services will offer recreation, sports, arts/crafts and other structured leisure engagement opportunities.

ARTICLE 28/16 CLINIC SERVICES  – CP Rochester (licensed by NYS Department of Health (28) and Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (16)), to provide physical, occupational and speech-language therapies as well as behavioral health services of psychology, psychiatry and counseling, and primary health care. A warm hand off to CP Rochester’s Family Dental Center will ensure individuals with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder have ready access to high quality, accessible dental services.

AUTISM FAMILY NAVIGATOR – This position was initiated in July 2018 and is shared among Center founders (Al Sigl Community of Agencies, CP Rochester and AutismUp).

GOLISANO AUTISM HELPLINE – In July 2018 the Golisano Autism Helpline was launched by Center founders (Al Sigl Community of Agencies, CP Rochester and AutismUp), to assure information regarding Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder specific resources is available to families as the need arises and not just during “traditional” business hours.

CARE MANAGEMENT – A Care Manager trained in providing services to individuals with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders will be provided by Prime Care Coordination to connect individuals and families to the supports and services they need, now and in the future.

OTHER THERAPEUTIC SERVICES – Additional therapeutic offerings in sensory and self-regulation therapies will be provided by AutismUp.

HOUSING LIAISON – Monroe Housing Collaborative will maintain a presence on site to provide assistance to individuals and families. Housing Navigator services will include support in determining housing needs, housing readiness and options, and linkage to community housing opportunities.

EMPLOYMENT – Rochester Rehabilitation, Holy Childhood and Arc of Monroe will provide comprehensive employment services to individuals aged 21 and older including; pre-vocational and vocational skill building, employment skills and readiness assessment, training and linkage, work experience, employment, and placement support. These organizations will also work together to create work training opportunities as part of the Center’s café operation.

BENEFITS LINKAGE – Rochester Rehabilitation will provide certified benefits specialists to assist individuals and families in securing the disability, food, housing, and other benefits to which they may be entitled. This is especially important for individuals with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder who are not OPWDD eligible.

SOCIAL/RECREATION – AutismUp will expand its social and recreation opportunities to provide expanded service delivery as the Center will be available for use seven days/week. AutismUp’s offerings include; self-empowerment and advocacy, self-regulation, self-image, fitness activities, sensory awareness, arts, social engagement, and support. CP Rochester and Arc of Monroe also plan to offer social/recreation opportunities.

CHIROPRACTIC – We have identified a chiropractor experienced in providing services to children and adults with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder.

YOGA – Classes will be provided onsite.

ARTS/THEATER  – Hochstein and Spectrum Creative Arts will offer creative arts opportunities at the Center, offering arts programming (including music, art, theater, and dance) to individuals of ALL ages and abilities.

SPORTS/RECREATION – SportsNet (a collaboration among CP Rochester, Al Sigl Community of Agencies and Rochester Rehabilitation and operated through CP Rochester) offers adaptive sports and inclusive recreational opportunities to individuals with acquired and developmental disabilities. Working with local organizations, sports clubs, recreational facilities, SportsNet creates access to a variety of integrated, community-based sports and recreational opportunities.

TRANSPORTATION – Rochester Rehabilitation will provide linkage to DriveOn, the only comprehensive driver evaluation, and training service for persons with health-related, physical and cognitive disabilities in Upstate New York. DriveOn provides NYS certified driving instructors who work with individuals to complete Driver Evaluation and Training, and Equipment and Vehicle Evaluations. The Center is located on an active, daily usage Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority bus route and also served by Medical Motor Service of Rochester.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION – AutismUp and URMC to provide customized training and education opportunities designed to meet the information needs of such specific audiences as families, caregivers, schools, community providers and businesses.

INDOOR RECREATION AREA – 6,200 square feet of adapted gym space will be available for use by Center tenants. The gym can be open or sectioned into three separate areas dependent upon user need and will include a climbing wall, two trampolines recessed into the floor, foam pit, indoor swing, basketball and volleyball courts, and more.

OUTDOOR LEARNING/RECREATION AREA – 15,000 square feet of outdoor space will be available for use by Center tenants. The space will be divided by trails into four different areas; preschool playground, school-aged playground, green space for lawn activities and adaptive gym equipment and park space with raised gardens.

Floor plan

Golisano Autism Center floor plan

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