Oct 23, 2022, MLT Online: 'All Kinds of Minds' autism and special needs masterplan continues data gathering https://www.lmtonline.com/local/article/All-Kinds-of-Minds-masterplan-continues-its-17525269.php
City officials and special needs advocates gathered last week to discuss the community's needs in regard to the Autism and Special Needs Masterplan. This follows a previous town hall meeting that allowed residents to provide feedback and recommendations based on theirs or their loved one’s needs and challenges.
According to Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Richard Chamberlain, the first town hall meeting was followed by a survey of attendees to gather more data. There were 58 responses collected from 75 participants whose feedback helps in developing the comprehensive masterplan.
While the sample size may have been a far cry from the thousands of residents who are part of the autism and/or special needs community, those that answered the survey stated that the overall quality of services in Laredo for persons on the autism spectrum was ranked at approximately 2.24 rate out of five.
“That’s just showing us that we are not even halfway there,” Chamberlain said. “We are not doing well, and this is why a great initiative brought by Councilmember (Vanessa) Perez and is being supported by the rest of the council that we begin this initiative and start putting together a master plan.
The survey continued to highlight a number of missing commodities or services that benefit the community. These include services such as employment, therapy, recreation, education, specialists, child care and more. Residents said that further inclusivity through different organizations is needed, as well as better information on resources and better opportunities to learn social skills for residents are missing. …
This inclusivity and awareness by education staff was said to be needed in every career field throughout the community. And with parents looking for solutions and support to find the best for their children, it is important to know what resources are available currently.
Currently, the City of Laredo Blue Ribbon Committee for People with Disabilities hosts a website with resources links that include job opportunities, medical assistance and support agencies. It contains a list of different disabilities that takes visitors to information sites per the respective disability, national and local….
A second town hall is hosted to discuss the "All Kinds of Minds" Masterplan that focuses on better the quality of life for Laredo residents in the Autism and Special Needs community.