ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Getting services for people with autism is getting easier in the Rochester area.
“It would be so frustrating for a parent that knows nothing about autism,” said Tamika Robinson, whose 4-year-old son Chase has autism. “If they didn’t have these resources it would be just so hard.”
After two years of planning and construction, the Golisano Autism Center officially opened its doors Thursday.
“There are over ten thousand young people affected by autism in this community and they really had no center for assistance or help,” said Tom Golisano, who donated $3 million toward the launching of the center. “That is what this providing. “
“We will be offering evaluation early intervention services, which will be speech and occupational therapy and school age educational services,” said Mary Walsh Boatfield Board Chair, Golisano Autism Center.
The one-stop autism hub offers all of these services under one roof — which is a relief for some parents.
“I know with our family personally it can be a lot to drive all over the city and go from place to place appointment to appointment,” said Mike Cerone. “It can be a lot on our son. “
Along with resources and services the center is helping people with autism make connections.
“It’s the best feeling to watch kids develop a passion for something,” said Lauren Debine, a sensory and behavioral coordinator for AutismUp. “I see kids become really great bowlers and make really make meaning friendships in a way I know that would not be possible without a center like this.”
The idea for the center was inspired by the death of Trevyan Rowe. He was the 14-year-old Rochester City School District student with autism who died after walking out of his school.
The center is named after Tom Golisano who donated $3 million of the $9 million dollars needed to build the center.
The center is home to 14 community providers including two of the founding agencies, AutismUp and CP Rochester.