CHS Lights It Up Blue for Autism

Press Release CHS Lights It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Liberty, MO, April 2, 2014: April 2nd, 2014 was World Autism Awareness Day; and the entire month of April every year is Autism Awareness Month. Light It Up Blue is an event held annually on April 2nd and is put on by Autism Speaks. They encourage people to wear blue, put blue bulbs in their porch lights, drive with their headlights on, and many other things to raise awareness for autism. At the Clay County Service Coordination office of Center for Human Services, and across the state in CHS offices, staff wore blue shirts, blue jeans, and donned hand-crafted puzzle-piece pins in honor of raising awareness for autism.

The newest data indicates that 1 in 68 American children are, or will be, diagnosed with autism. While this data is staggering, great strides have been made in understanding autism and how it affects people. There is still, however, much to be done. There are a multitude of services, supports, and groups out there to assist people and families dealing with autism. For more information on autism, visit www.autismspeaks.org, or contact the Department of Mental Health Kansas City Regional Office’s Autism Navigator, Vonda Minor, at Vonda.Minor@dmh.mo.gov or 816.889.3400.

Center for Human Services is a multifaceted nonprofit umbrella organization that operates in over 30 counties in the state of Missouri to serve over 2,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities. While the services provided differ somewhat by county, CHS provides services in the areas of Family and Child Development (Early Head Start and First Steps), Employment Services (sheltered workshops in Sedalia and Marshall; and supported employment services), Community Living (activity centers, individualized supported living, group homes), and Service Coordination. For more information about CHS as an organization, visit www.chs-mo.org.

In Clay County, Center for Human Services is contracted by the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of Clay County to provide Service Coordination for people ages 3 and up with developmental disabilities. The Service Coordinators act as a contracted extension of the Department of Mental Health – Division of Developmental Disabilities. Once a person has completed intake at the Kansas City Regional Office, they are assigned a Service Coordinator. The Service Coordinator works to provide support to individuals and families with three main pillars: Planning – facilitating the person-centered planning process to identify the hopes and dreams of individuals with disabilities and the supports they need to achieve those; Linking Resources – researching, locating, and assisting to contact agencies, providers, resources, and funding options that will allow for the needed supports to be provided to the individuals and their families; and Quality Assurance – for any state- or federally-funded service, the Service Coordinator monitors the services to ensure they are meeting state and federal Medicaid requirements, and are meeting the needs of the individual. If you already have a CHS Service Coordinator assigned, and live in Clay County, you may contact that Service Coordinator at 816.736.9990. If you do not have a Service Coordinator assigned, but think you or a loved one may qualify, please contact the Kansas City Regional Office at 816.889.3400 and request an Intake Assessment.

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