New Autism Center Hopes to Reach Thousands in Rochester, New York
Families of children with autism in Rochester, New York now have access to much-needed services thanks to the new Golisano Autism Center, which opened its doors on September 12. According to a report this month by 13Wham ABC, the center will function as an “autism hub,” providing a variety of services for children and adults with autism under one roof.
Located on Science Parkway, off South Avenue, the 33,000 square foot building offers recreational, medical, and educational support services, as well as behavioral and primary care supports, community habilitation, fitness programs, therapeutic services, and more. The Center is home to fourteen community providers, including two of its founding agencies, AutismUp and CP Rochester.
“This is really a dream come true of what we wanted for Max,” said Carly Cerone, a Rochester mother whose ten-year-old son has autism. “In the past, you have to go from place to place to place, and you’re all over Rochester for different appointments and different sessions and therapies; with this, you don’t have to.”
The center is the first of its kind, according to CP Rochester President and CEO Mary Walsh Boatfield, “because of the collaboration and uniqueness of what we're doing here, working with the best of the best autism providers in our community.”
The program received a generous donation of $3 million thanks to its namesake, philanthropist Tom Golisano. Golisano’s investment is a personal one, because Max Cerone is his grandson.
“There's such a demand and need for the services a facility like this can offer, it's hard not to support,” Golisano said. “They didn’t spend a lot of money. They built a beautiful facility, but they did it out of creative design and hard work, and that's great.”
Over 10,000 people in the Rochester area have an autism diagnosis. The Golisano Center hopes to connect with all of those individuals within the next five years. In addition to Golisano’s donation, the Center has received $4 million from private donors, foundations, and corporations. Walsh Boatfield says $1.4 million are still needed for completion of the project. “It’s a community here,” Carly Cerone said. “You learn new things from parents. Parents are great resources, and a lot of the parents that are involved with this program actually work here too.”