Autism Speaks and Congresswoman Grace Meng address the importance of Caregiver Skills Training Programs in local communitiesSeptember 9, 2022
Autism Speaks President and CEO Keith Wargo joined Congresswoman Grace Meng, leaders and staff of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center and local community organizations for a roundtable discussion in Flushing, NY about the importance of caregiver skills training programs for the caregivers of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. In February, Congresswoman Meng introduced the Autism Family Caregivers Act – a bipartisan bill that would establish 25 caregiver skills training sites in at least 15 states across the country.
With research reinforcing the effectiveness of caregiver-mediated interventions in helping children with autism and other developmental disabilities reach their full potential, Autism Speaks has been a longtime champion for empowering caregivers. The World Health Organization (WHO) Caregiver Skills Training (CST) for Families of Children with Developmental Delays or Disabilities was developed with the support of Autism Speaks to teach caregivers day-to-day skills that foster the growth of children with autism and other developmental disabilities at no cost to families.
The in-person version of the CST program has already been piloted in more than 30 countries worldwide and with community partners across the United States to address a lack of specialized care available in some communities. An online, self-guided version of the program further offers pre-recorded courses and digital content to guide families in using everyday play and home routines as opportunities to build their child’s communication, engagement, positive behavior and daily living skills, all while building their own confidence, reducing stress and improving their overall well-being.
The discussion today in Flushing focused on how the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, working with local community partners, successfully implemented the Caregiver Skills Training Program in their community. Highlighting the experiences of these local partners working primarily with Chinese-speaking families, the roundtable conversation delved into the barriers in access to care that members of the local community often face, how the caregiver skills training program helped to bridge some of those gaps, and why it’s important for these types of programs to be accessible to families in communities around the country.
Rep. Meng discussed how the efforts by Charles B. Wang Community Health Center and their community partners inspired her to introduce the Autism Family Caregivers Act and she re-affirmed her commitment to working with her colleagues to enact the bill into law.