Dickinson Mental Health Center was awarded a $7,630 grant to support its new Children’s Autism Outreach Project through the Elk County Community Foundation and the Harrison and Muriel Dauer Stackpole Family Fund.
DMHC CEO Mike Galluzzi was on hand along with Paula Fritz Eddy, Executive Director of the Elk County Community Foundation and John Pozza, Director of Grants and Marketing for DMHC, to announce the grant.
Galluzzi said the grant will be a big help to those in the area with Autism.
“There are virtually no autism services that exist in the area,” Galluzzi said. “We’re identifying a growing need and these grants will help with that need.”
Galluzzi said the project will introduce integrated sensory techniques and provide for the cost of program supplies and sensory equipment.
Pozza said there are over 200 with Autism in the combined areas of Elk, Cameron, McKean and Potter counties.
“There are many spectrums of it,” Pozza said. “Nationally, it just continues to grow. There’s definitely a need and we hope to address it.”
DMHC received start-up funding in September 2007 for the project from the Mee Charitable Foundation which was used to hire a project coordinator to assist in designing a program that would involve one-on-one consultation with autistic children and their parents with a special focus on sensory development and integration in addition to social development. The program does involve a home visitation component with information and referrals for services.
Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by a unique cognitive profile that affects social and adaptic functioning.