Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force
Become familiar with the work of the Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force:
In 2010, Temecula’s mayor Mike Naggar formed the “Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force” (SRATF) consisting of school, city, and county leaders in order to provide support to those affected by Autism. The Task Force consists of elected officials from Temecula, Murrieta, Perris, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Canyon Lake and Menifee to include the knowledge of school districts, nonprofits, professional experts, medical experts, and the community. His plan was to not only tackle this directly by identifying resources for families, but to also educate the “typical” community including friends, family, and even law enforcement. The outlined objectives of the Task Force are: “(1) greater public awareness of the autism disorder as well as special needs of all other types, (2) publishing resources that help those impacted by autism and other special needs, and (3) enhancing or creating programs with the primary goal of the Task Force to help our region prepare for the growing number of children with special needs of all types entering our schools and eventually the work force” (cacities.org).
As the number of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder grow, so does the need for appropriate education and information, resources, support and answers. The Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force rose to the occasion to address these needs. After assembling the task force, they worked with the State of California Department of Developmental Disabilities, Inland Regional Center, Department of Public Services, and Department of Mental Health, school districts, Interagency Council, non-profits and various professionals to guide families with a “roadmap” of support.
So what has the Task Force done so far? First off, greater awareness was definitely achieved and can be seen simply by doing a web search for a combination of the words “Autism”, “Task Force”, “Temecula”, “Inland Empire” and/or “Naggar.” Additionally, the SRATF has created and since updated a 67-page “Southwest Riverside County Special Needs Resource Guide” to assist families affected by Autism in locating local services and resources including but not limited to advocacy, evaluations, employment, medical services and socialization services. The SRAFT also published the “Community Playbook- Paving the Way for Youth with Special Needs, the Roadmap to Raise Awareness” to assist other organizations in understanding Autism and Special Needs. Lastly, according to cacities.org, it is important to identify services and support that will target developmental education in order to assist the growing population of individuals with ASD, and other types of special needs, economically benefit society as they reach adulthood. To address this, the SRAFT has successfully inspired workshops and events held or supported by local business, volunteers, nonprofits, professionals, and special needs work program internships.
For more information for your family or on the work of the Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force please visit the following pages:
To learn more about the Southwest Riverside Autism Task Force, please visit: http://www.cacities.org/Member-Engagement/Helen-Putnam-Awards/California-City-Solutions/2014/Southwest-Riverside-Autism-Task-Force
Southwest Riverside County Special Needs Resource Guide:
Community Playbook- Paving the War for Youth with Special Needs, the Roadmap to Raise Awareness: