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CT Judicial Branch Holds Court With Autism Experts

PHOTO: from left – Adam Cohen, program director of young adult services; Donna Swanson, founder and executive director of FOCUS Center for Autism; Sam Bruder from the Court Operations Family Unit; Lauren Evans, program director of Shannon House, provided perspective, experience and recommendations to members of the state judicial department in the CT Judicial Branch sponsored forum, “The Autism Spectrum: No Two Snowflakes are Alike” on October 26, 2018.

The FOCUS Center for Autism was invited to the State Judicial Branch’s professional development forum, “The Autism Spectrum: No Two Snowflakes are Alike,” on Friday, October 26. The event marked the end of the judicial branch’s week-long Celebration of Diversity. The judicial branch-sponsored forum offered insight on what it’s like to live with the disorder and the advocacy needs many on the spectrum require. The panel included FOCUS Center for Autism executive director and two residential program directors, thus offering the lawyers, social service professionals and other judicial department members a balanced combination of professional and life experiences with working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

FOCUS panelists described situations that might be difficult and shared specific accommodations that can help with challenges and how those with the ability to protect and advocate for them can be most effective.

It’s always an enriching experience to share our approach to life with others,” Donna Swanson, executive director of the FOCUS Center for Autism, said. “This time has been extra special because we applaud the hard work so many in the judicial branch do to protect and serve children and young adults on the spectrum. Their jobs are not easy, and it was our pleasure to give them extra knowledge to help them champion our kids.”

The session was opened up to the attendees, many who have a family member on the spectrum. The group discussed the challenges the court system faces and how all parties can work together to increase awareness and efficiency within the system.

When we come together to ask questions and provide answers, everyone benefits. We were invited to offer our insights but we walked away from the forum equally enlightened — and with new friends. I hope we have the opportunity do this again,” said Swanson.

The FOCUS Center for Autism offers presentations for conferences, human resource agencies, service providers, medical personnel, and PTA/SEPTA meetings. They have spread awareness and educated over 100 audiences from Connecticut to Massachusetts and beyond.

For more information visit http://focuscenterforautism.org or call (860) 693-8809.

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