Our Impact 2020

2020 Impact 2020 Impact

The mission of the Eagles Autism Foundation is to support the highest quality and most impactful autism research and care to improve the lives of affected individuals and families now, as well as foster the acquisition of knowledge, technologies, and discoveries that will bring new opportunities in the future. While we remain steadfast in our commitment to fund the most innovative research, we also recognize the immediate need to serve individuals through the community grant program.

2020 Community Grant Recipients

Drexel

A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

This project is to develop the Philadelphia Autism Network Self Advocates (PAN-S) webinar, with topics focusing on financial planning, relationships/sexuality, transportation, and employment.  The Philadelphia Autism Network is a part of Philly Autism Project.  The role of Drexel’s Policy and Analytics Center will be to support self-advocates to facilitate the development of the PAN-S workshop series, while utilizing data from a number of sources to contribute to content development on important topics and deliver it in an accessible format.  Self-advocates working on the workshop will be part of the project to transition barriers into action drawing upon personal experience.  The workshop series will discuss complex topics with information from self-advocates tailored for individuals with autism.

Elywn

The Elwyn Foundation

Elwyn Early Learning Services is the sole provider of early intervention evaluation services presently serving 7,500 children ages 3-5 with autism, developmental delays or related disabilities. During the pandemic services had to shut down and since then 98% of ELS families have continued via video or telephone conferencing, which introduced a new expense of translation or interpretation services due to higher parental and care giver involvement for families who do not speak English as their first language.  Throughout the pandemic, Elwyn has made transitions to the tele-intervention model. This model includes weekly individual consultation via telephone or videoconference with the parent or caregiver of the enrolled child.  Typical modes of evaluation and service provision rely heavily on interactions between provider and child. In the current scenario, however, caregivers receive coaching, modeling, instruction, feedback, and reinforcement from the provider. Effective communication is absolutely essential under this model, and translation and interpretation services are necessary to maintain the quality of services while operating remotely in a diverse city like Philadelphia.

Hampton House

The Center at the Hampton House

The funding will be designated for the Get Your Future in Focus program.  In April 2018, the Center at Hampton House was accepted as a Pre-Employment Transition Services provider by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).  The Get Your Future in Focus program is a customizable 10-week curriculum for Workplace Readiness and Life Skills.  The program can be modified to accommodate each school’s needs.  They conduct outreach to schools in Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Bucks County to hold transition services planning meetings.   They work with their individuals to learn about workplace readiness, how to manage their income, and employer expectations.  They are aiming to bridge the gap for individuals who do not have access to quality workplace readiness training.  They use a pre- and post-assessment at the beginning and the end of classes.  They also will collaborate with Penn State Abington and Gwynedd Mercy College for student volunteers and have relationships with local stores and schools for job placement opportunities.

chop-impact-2020

CHOP – Center for Autism Research

Funding provided directly from Huddle Up for Autism event, “The Center for Autism Research (CAR) coordinates and supports research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). CAR’s goals are to identify the underlying causes of ASD in order to develop effective treatments, and support individuals with ASD and their families by providing evidence-based resources and education.”

SJu

Kinney Center for Autism

The Kinney Center is receiving funds for technology needs for their ASPIRE program as they begin to offer the services outside of Saint Joseph’s University for the first time.  The upgrade also helps ASPIRE students transition from college to the workforce.  SJU’s ASPIRE ( (Autism Support Promoting Inclusive and Responsive Education) program has a completion rate of 83%, which is 13% higher than the average. The ASPIRE program is designed to support college students on the autism spectrum as they transition from secondary education to post-secondary education.  During the pandemic, the ASPIRE team quickly transitioned to a virtual format, finding that some students work better virtually than in person. The technological updates will address two main challenges: effective engagement of remote students into on-site skills classes and the provision of real work experience remotely.  The main technological upgrades will allow for more interaction which provides effective online assessment in conjunction with the provision of real work experience remotely.

precision

The Precision Institute

The Precision Institute assists individuals with autism and developmental disabilities to overcome employment barriers and prepare for entry-level IT and business positions.  The funding will be used to redesign their work-readiness program in response to COVID-19 with traditional in-person and hybrid programs. The Precision Institute was formerly a function within The Precisionists, Inc’s business model.  In 2018, they determined that to assess, train and potentially employ the greatest number of neurodiverse individuals it was necessary to spin off the Assessment and Training function into the nonprofit that they are today.  Upon successful competition of the Work Readiness program, The Precisionists Inc. hires 80-90% of candidates placing them in supported positions.

Valley Forge

Valley Forge Educational Services

Valley Forge Educational Services has evolved into educational, recreational, and employment-related programs for people with special needs.  One of their programs, which launched in 2017, is Customized Workforce Solutions (CWS).  The goal is to provide career exploration, job finding and coaching.  CWS works with local businesses to integrate and support individuals with special needs.  Currently, CWS partners with over 100 area businesses in participants’ home communities to connect, recruit and train employees with disabilities. In 2014, the concept began for a “Post 21” Strategic Plan to establish a business and launch the employment services.  CWS served approximately 80-100 individuals in the last two years.  CWS measures and tracks five key program outcomes, including service hours, participants earning minimum wage or higher, 85 participant satisfaction surveys, number of participants employed six months or greater, and number of employers engaged with the program.

Variety

Variety-The Children’s Charity

Variety Club is putting the funding towards VarietyWorks, which is the workforce development model designed to help individuals with cognitive disabilities ages 14-24 gain meaningful employment, specifically by expanding its vocational Farm to Table programming year-round at the institution.   The program is addressing three unmet needs currently: 1) providing individualized training opportunities to build work readiness skills for in-school adolescents before they turn 21; 2) bridging the transition age of 21 to 21+ when youth with disabilities and their families must learn to navigate adult systems post-education; and 3) the ability to provide a fluid program that adapts to the individual’s needs.  The model of VarietyWorks is if the client is available for community employment, the individual can participate in mobile café, farm to table or job coaching.   This funding allowed Variety to expand the Farm to Table programming from a 7-week summer vocational program, to year-round.

West Chester University

West Chester University

This project will be a partnership between Neurodiversity at Work WorkGroup and D-CAP at West Chester University to build a website of resources to link neurodiverse individuals, educators, employers, and service providers to meaningful employment.  Currently, there is no centralized place to find information for this space.  The four main groups to utilize this will be neurodiverse candidates, employers, service providers and university support programs. The vision of this project is to provide a single site to find all the educational opportunities, employment opportunities and support opportunities for neurodiverse talent. The links to these sites will provide a less complex path to information that can be overwhelming to our students and candidates.  Part of the team building the website will be undergraduate students with autism who are members or  alumni of Dub-C Autism Program (D-CAP) studying computer science or a related field.

Kens Krew

Ken’s Krew Inc.

Ken’s Krew provides job placement training and support for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities in competitive employment.  Vocational coordinators asses, coach and support the individual and the employer.  Ken’s Krew needs to update their current online accounts to remain successful in the current virtual world.  With the stay-at-home order, it was necessary to maintain contact with over 100 workers to provide trainings on Covid-19, cover continually changing workplace policies and safety procedures, customer service-based training, coping skills, and social skills while in isolation.  Individuals could take a leave of absence from their job, but many stayed as the main corporate partner, Home Depot, was deemed essential. Many individuals have enjoyed the online program format and vocational coordinators are also processing new applicants in a virtual format.