April 2015
A bi-monthly newsletter to keep you informed about topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities.

Recent Changes
Hi!  We hope you like our new layout and design.  What used to be called the ASD Newsletter has been renamed ASSET Network Newsletter and is a source for information on both Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities.   

Autism Walk
Sunny Tempe, AZ was the setting for Arizona Walk Now for Autism Speaks/SARRC.  On October 26, 2014 a group of staff from YAP's program in Glendale, AZ joined together to walk for Autism.  

Wearing "Team YAP" t-shirts, they proudly represented Youth Advocate Programs while raising money for Autism research and supporting the youth they work with who are on the spectrum.    

Adults with Autism Create Newsletter
Program Director Brian Kluchurosky and participating adults in YAP's Adults with Autism service in Pittsburgh, PA set out with the intent of making their voices heard. Dispelling the notion that individuals with autism are vastly different from other people gave the group an added sense of purpose and a newspaper called "The Pittverse" was created.

The initial group of four brainstormed ideas creating both the logo and developed content that is now regularly compiled into 4 issues per year. The group has also grown, having now eight active contributors of opinion pieces, restaurant reviews, artwork and other wide-ranging topics. The response to The Pittverse was well-received by the local community, highlighted by The Greentree Junior Times doing a spotlight feature on the group for their newspaper.

The Pittverse is an interesting read for everyone who picks up a copy. For participating adults the project also develops useful skills for the workplace such as meeting deadlines and effective collaboration. The need to consider different opinions and talking with each other-needs certainly not unique to people with autism-are often tough things for his program participants to develop, Kluchurosky explains. Working on Pittverse has helped with those skills and more.

"The newspaper has inspired some participants to seek a job, to collaborate with others in a job search and to locate opportunities for volunteer work," Kluchurosky says.

Most of the adults in program are age 25 or older. They are referred by Support Coordinators from local agencies who interview YAP, the participant and the family to ensure a good match. Approval comes from the state Bureau of Autism.

The initial interview with Support Coordinators is a part of YAP's Adult Family Team Approach. At the first meeting, YAP asks the adult and family: What do you need? How can we help? How can you help? How can we partner together?  How would you like to contribute to your community?

"A lot of our participants have had services growing up but employment has not always been a priority", Kluchurosky says. "We're starting at Square One with them, beginning with their realization that Yes! We can do that!"      READ MORE

YAP Receives Grant to Fund The Pittverse
We are happy to announce that at the end of December 2014, Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. received a grant to assist with the implementation and production of The Pittverse. 

The grant was received from the Edith L.Trees Charitable Trust.  This grant will provide individuals with developmental differences the opportunity to participate in activities that will prepare them for future employment and will provide the individuals with compensation for the work that they complete on The Pittverse project.

Autism Team Trains YAP Ireland
YAP, Inc is always trying to expand its services-- finding areas where our mission will make us stand out amongst other providers. It is no different than many sister offices in other countries. One of YAP's stand out sister programs is YAP Ireland. The program was established in 2002 in the areas of North Dublin, Galway, Roscommon and Mayo successfully importing the YAP model from the United States. YAP has been instrumental in assisting with child welfare system reform in Ireland. By history Ireland has relied solely on residential programs for youth in the child welfare system. YAP was the first community-based organization in Ireland to bring youth out of residential placement and back to their home communities. Training, technical support and development by American YAP colleagues of the YAP Ireland Program for 7 years alongside a talented YAP Ireland team's dedication to the mission, model, kids and families strengthened and grew YAP Ireland.

At the beginning of March, Jessica Carlton-Humenik and Ann Branning had the opportunity to collaborate with YAP Ireland. During their time in Ireland a 2 day core autism training was provided to regional team leaders and a round table meeting was held to discuss further development of autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities services through the YAP Ireland sites.  The warmth and willingness to learn and share on the behalf of the Ireland team members was very genuine. The comradery that was experienced in the Dublin office felt just like walking into our local home offices! 

YAP Ireland is currently servicing many individuals with autism through their provision of mental health services. Their goal is to expand services and make YAP Ireland a top provider not only in the mental health and juvenile justice fields but also for those individuals they service with autism.