A Panel of Service Providers Discuss the Importance of Needs-Based Collaborations and Statewide Partners — March Forum, Day 2
Kristin Gharst, Family Resource Coordinator, TAP Program at CTF Illinios
Jan Pearcy, Associate Director, Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education
Misty Baker, Director, Eastern Illinois University Child Care Resource & Referral
Debbie Einhorn, Director, Family Matters Parent Training & Information Center
This panel served as a successful model of collaboration. They talked about the economic necessity of forming collaborations, finding out the needs of families, and finding people that are willing to work with you. The economic need for forming partnerships to deliver support services for the ASD community cannot be overstated. As Debbie Einhorn pointed out, “…unfortunately, we live in a state (IL) that doesn’t put a high priority on disability services… ranking second to last in the nation on dollars spent on disability services….”
Jim Runyon, Easter Seals, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Governmental Affairs addresses the following questions:
- Why is a community needs assessment crucial?
- How do you identify your service gaps?
- Who are your key stakeholders?
- What age group and geographic region are you trying to engage?
- How do you identify collaborators?
- How do you engage people where they are and keep them engaged?
Jim also stresses that having “fire in your gut” is key to a sustainable initiative. Jim Runyon, Easter Seals, Speaking on Community Needs Assessments (3 parts) Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part One Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part Two Jim Runyon – Targeting Autism March Forum, Day 2, Part Three
Mark Nolen leads the morning forum discussion by reviewing the survey comments and looks at challenges and opportunities for collaboration. Mark tells the group, “…Don’t disregard negative responses, even if they are few in number… Know about them, plan for them and move forward wisely…”
Does Library School Education Prepare Librarians to be Actively Inclusive? Some Great Initiatives and Much Work Left to be Done!
Panel presentations and discussion on the status of library education and training offered on ASD and related developmental disabilities.
Joel Gershenfeld, co-founder of WayMark Systems sets the forum in motion, getting the group to focus on session goals and how to make the two day session a great success.
Adria Nassim, ASD advocate and consultant helps forum participants understand what growing up with ASD has been like for her and the opportunity and responsibility libraries and communities have to improve the quality of life for special needs populations. In reference to the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” Adria ends her talk with the question “Who’s village are you here to build”?