In 2010 we opened an Adult Day Habilitation program which now has 22 participants and our Medicaid Service Coordinators reach 160 more young adults. Many of them have been with ACDS since birth.Was this the vision of those original families? No. They would be amazed! But we hope they would also be pleased and proud. And I think they would ask us: “What is your vision now, in 2011?” And a very fair question it is.
As with our founding families, our vision is to respond to the needs of the communities we serve. We have grown and trained our staff to meet the explosive growth of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Next school year we will provide Orientation and Mobility services to two blind students. We just graduated two beautiful young girls with Rett syndrome, which five years ago we collectively knew nothing about.But the future is even more challenging, made so by the loud screams for smaller government and leaner budgets. After all, 90% of our funding comes from government. The vision of our future will be shaped by the times we live in.New residential development for adults has stopped. Medicaid which, directly or indirectly, funds all our programs, is being totally revamped by New York State to cap future growth. But we say “So what?” The obstacles of our founding families were more formidable than this.So ACDS has and will continue to grow. We have grown by an average of 9% a year for eight years. That growth must continue, because families and babies need us.We bought one new building in 2010 and ultimately we need our own school building, maybe by 2019 when our last lease renewal will expire. We will continue to expand our reach, our knowledge, and our commitment to serve.
Do we know what ACDS will look like 45 years from now, in 2056? Of course not! But if we all push forward together and listen to those who call out for our services, we will certainly be grander and will surprise ourselves when we see what our vision has become. Hopefully those who follow us in 2056 will celebrate our work today!!
Michael M. Smith - September 2011
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