Skylight Partners with the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland to Kick Off Autism Awareness Month

Skylight’s Special Care Planner, Ken Vinikoff, recently hosted the launch of the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland’s Autism Awareness Month in the Skylight penthouse.  The organization’s theme for this year’s awareness month is “Stand up for Autism” and the event brought families together to share their positive experiences of living with autism.  The focus was on sharing successful outcomes for transition-aged children with special needs who are leaving high school to go out in the world as a young adult.

Christina Shahriari, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland, said, “Through my son, I get to have the honor of understanding what life is like for a child with autism.  I look at all the amazing stuff he, and other individuals with autism, can do and I’m so encouraged about what we’ve accomplished and can accomplish.  This positive message that we can send out to the world, makes Autism Awareness Month, particularly special for me and my family.”

“It’s great to see that our efforts, over many years, to raise awareness and diagnosis of autism in young children have worked very effectively.  Now we see these kids growing up, reaching adulthood and more needs to be done to help them as there isn’t enough housing and jobs. Often the support and services they have been accustomed to are no longer available.  During Autism Awareness Month we want to highlight this issue and raise awareness of the need to do even more to make their path to adulthood a successful one,” added Christina.

Ken Vinikoff, Financial Planner and Special Care Planner in Skylight’s Cleveland office, said “I have been working with families of children with autism or special needs for many years and am committed to connecting them with resources and information in our community and helping them towards the goals they have for their children.  Now that there is greater awareness and diagnosis of autism, it’s even more important than ever that we empower these young adults and give them greater independence, as they have so much to offer to our community.”

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.  1 out of 68 children born today has some form of autism and in the next 10 years, more than 500,000 children with autism will become adults with autism.  The mission of the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland is “Improving the lives of all affected by autism”.  The non-profit organization provide the following services in Northern Ohio for little or no cost: parent and professional educational and support meetings, summer camps, social skills classes, holiday parties, summer picnics, safety forces training, teachers and professionals continuing education and resources and autism awareness in our community.

Please visit the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland’s website for further information.

Check out some photos below from the day.