After the disappearance and death of a Rochester City School District student this past March, lead partners behind the planned Golisano Autism Center held an urgent meeting.
Trevyan Rowe, 14, a boy with autism, wandered away from school after getting off of his school bus March 8. His body was found the following Sunday in the Genesee River. The tragedy drove home the desperate need for services for those with autism — a condition affecting more than 10,000 people in the Rochester/Finger Lakes area.
Among those putting their heads together for an immediate response were Golisano Autism Center partners Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, CP Rochester, and the Golisano Foundation. These founding members of the Golisano Autism Center, which is breaking ground this fall, decided on a dedicated, 24-hour-a day helpline, which will go live on July 1. To be staffed by trained professionals, the helpline will guide individuals and their families to find services and programs in the community.
Also, based at the Boys and Girls Club on Genesee Street in Rochester, a “family autism navigator” will be a parent of a child with autism who has received specialized training. That person will provide provide one-on-one advice and support to families and others facing the challenges of autism. That parent is now being recruited and will be in place in late summer, according to the Golisano Autism Center team.