Laredo Health Department to Host Autism Town Hall

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The City of Laredo Health Department invites concerned residents to the Town Hall Autism Meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Joe A. Guerra Laredo Public Library at 1120 E. Calton Rd.

The event will focus on discussing and receiving feedback from the community regarding the Autism and Special Needs Blueprint.

“The goal is to create a more diverse and inclusive community where people with disabilities reach their full potential,” the city said in a statement. “Community involvement and feedback is key to learning and integrating all of our community’s needs and concerns, which will then create the framework for a proactive strategic plan.”

Several organizations will be present to lend their expertise, including the Laredo Autism Coalition, the Laredo Health Department and the Mayor’s Blue-Ribbon Committee for People with Disabilities. Additionally, Health Department Partner and District VII Council Member Vanessa Perez will be on hand for further discussion.

The blueprint was discussed earlier this year, in which Veronica Orduno – Founder of Families for Autism – said she estimated more than 700 people were on the autism spectrum in the UISD and LISD school districts. She added that the city must work to build a community that meets the needs of all its residents.

“I say this because now in the summer we have a lot of parents having to choose between the job they love or having their child in daycare, that none of our daycare centers in Laredo are equipped to handle autistic children. “, Orduno said. “It’s the same with the camps. I have contacted the City of Laredo and Parks & Rec and have yet to receive an email from them.

A potential solution to be discussed Tuesday would be an information set-up with the Laredo Police Department for the home of an autistic adult. Orduno said that in an event where the individual has an autism crisis, she said the police would already be aware of the situation and have a strategy in mind to help the individual.

Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Richard Chamberlain also said it offers a family support and community resource program connecting people with special needs and their families with parent education, groups support, rest care and the department, which has a database of registered families to provide. more information and updates.

Ultimately, City Hall will give families and residents impacted by autism or other special needs across the city the opportunity to be heard and provide input on what is needed and beneficial.

At a previous board meeting, Martha Trevino said her autistic son graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in English and it took him over a year to find a job. She said she quit her job to live with him to support him emotionally, adding that all of the more than 700 students with autism would grow into adults and a foundation needed to be laid to support them at this point.

Trevino added that the foundation shouldn’t just be for autism but for other disabilities such as dyslexia and beyond.

“We need patient people on board to be able to say, ‘I can go ahead and train that kid who might need a little more help…that young man or that young woman who might need some help. a little more help than an average person. “said Trevino.

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