2002-03-16 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

New York Families for Autistic Children:
Research, Education and Advocacy
By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

New York Families for Autistic Children:
Research, Education and Advocacy

On Thursday, February 28, 2002, both Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, member of the New York State Board of Regents and Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader were honored at the annual dinner at Russo's by the New York Families for Autistic Children. The other outstanding honorees were Lee Grossman, President Autism Society of America; Gavin Saladino, President Technoserf Interactive; Sandy Levine, Executive Director Autism Foundation of New York; Independent Bikers of Queens; Toys for Tots and the Honorable Mark Weprin, New York State Assembly member. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was the dinner chairperson.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to the dinner and spoke about the importance of advocates for autistic children and their families. He commended Andrew and Pamela Bauman for their leadership role in this endeavor.

I had the opportunity to talk with Mayor Bloomberg about the seriousness of this work on behalf of autistic children. During my service as a tenured full professor of psychology at CUNY, I have worked with autistic children. Autistic children can make progress with proper care. Mayor Bloomberg and I discussed the need for more services for autism and the fact that research has documented that when treatment is begun early, behavior modification has been very successful.

During my exchange with the Mayor I stressed the importance of supporting Andrew and Pamela Bauman and the New York Families for Autistic Children. Their work is crucial to helping these children who are in need.

Mayor Bloomberg and I conversed about the needs of our community - the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park. I pointed out to the Mayor that our major problems include education, transportation and aviation issues. I stressed the fact that overcrowding in our schools is a severe problem in Queens. We need more services for our children. Children cannot learn appropriately if they do not have the basic ingredients to help them achieve a sound education.

I asked Mayor Bloomberg what was the one thing that stood out in his mind about New York City that he did not expect before being elected. He told me that before he was elected he did not realize the depth of commitment and the vast knowledge of city workers. He has been impressed by the city workers that he has had the opportunity to talk with and to observe.

On February 27th, New York Families for Autistic Children presented an excellent workshop led by Dr. Stacey Wassermann and Dr. Sherie Novotny from the Seaver Autism Research Institute. Drs. Wassermann and Novotny highlighted the recent studies on autism. The Seaver Center is an applied research center where they work "hands-on" with autistic children. They are actually helping children benefit from the knowledge gained in the clinical research. As usual the Bauman's have brought very vital information through this workshop to families who are helping their children.

On March 19th there will be an Open House at the Peninsula Hospital Center from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. in the Executive Dining Room. The community is invited to learn about the services of New York Families for Autism and to hear about the programs that they offer to help children.

Thanks to Andrew and Pamela Bauman and their executive board for continuing to provide informative workshops and special programs for autistic children and their family.

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