Assemblyman Santabarbara’s Autism Action Day at the NYS Capitol

Annual event raises awareness, brings families together with legislators, organizations
April 11, 2019
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Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Chair of the NY State Assembly’s Subcommittee on Autism Spectrum Disorders held his 4th annual Autism Action Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, April 10th. Dozens of support organizations, families and individuals affected by autism from across the state traveled to Albany to call for the legislation and funding in Santabarbara’s Autism Action Plan, an initiative with a goal of expanding employment opportunities and supportive housing for New Yorker’s with disabilities, improving access to technology, developing new communication tools and creating a centralized location for available services.

During the event Santabarbara provided an update on the plan and talked about legislative successes that include an Autism Training Program for Police and First Responders, Early Screening for Autism at 18 and 24 months and the recent launch of his launch of his Autism/Disability ID Card Program. In this year’s state budget, Santabarbara’s initiative to establish sensory friendly emergency rooms and integrated autism response team training in hospitals was also approved.

This year’s event featured “Milo” as a guest speaker, a humanoid robot that assists in teaching social skills and behavior to students, specifically design to help kids with autism. Milo can walk, talk, express emotions and make facial expressions during interactions with kids. Milo was accompanied by Dr. Gregory Firn of Robokind, the developers of Milo and “Robots4Autism.”

This year, Santabarbara presented the Amsterdam Mohawks Baseball Team with the 2019 New York State Autism Action Award, an annual award that recognizes individuals and organizations that go above and beyond to support the goals of Sanatabarbara’s Autism Action Plan. Santabarbara partnered with the Amsterdam Mohawks to establish an Autism Night at Shuttleworth Park in the City of Amsterdam, where the Mohawks play. President and General Manager, Brian Spagnola, was at the event to receive the award.

“1 in 59 are now diagnosed with autism in the United States, up from 1 in 68 in 2012 and the numbers have more than doubled in less than 20 years,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara, who son Michael was born with autism. “That makes autism that fastest growing developmental disability in the country and events like this are now more important than ever,” Santabarbara said. “They help give all those with disabilities a stronger voice and here at our State Capitol it has led to legislation and funding that’s making a difference for thousands of New York families.”