Turkish delegation visits Upstate Golisano Center for Special Needs to learn about autism care
A delegation from Turkey toured the Upstate Golisano Center for Special Needs in early February in order to glean information for improving care for people with autism back in their country.
According to Henry Roane, PhD, executive director of the Golisano Center for Special Needs, the delegation was in New York City at the headquarters of Autism Speaks when members asked to view a program firsthand. Autism Speaks sent them to Upstate the next day.
Visiting from Turkey was Esra CECELI the director general of Services for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, and Burcu AYHAN EKENCİ Head of Projects and International Relations Department from the Ministry of Family and Social Services.
Roane said the delegation was interested to learn about what services Upstate provides for people with autism, especially programs to deal with difficult behavior. The delegation also wanted to learn how Upstate started its programs, how it sustains them and how it trains staff.
“It was really a fact-finding mission for information take back home to Turkey,” Roane said.
Delegation members spent about two and a half hours touring facilities, asking questions and meeting with stakeholders. In addition to Roane, they met with a family member of a person with autism; Louis Pellegrino, MD, a developmental pediatrician; office manager Jessica Giannino; and social worker Corinne DiLaura, MSW.
Autism impacts one in every 250 people in Turkey. Around the world, it impacts 1 in 100 people. In the United States, it is 1 in 36 people, but Roane attributes that to more testing being done in the United States.
Next steps include potential video or in-person training, with either Upstate people traveling to Turkey or doctors from Turkey spending time at Upstate.
“We’re hopeful it’s the beginning of a good relationship that will be mutually beneficial,” Roane said.
Roane said the visit also highlights the success of Upstate’s program.
“It underscores our expertise and visibility on an international level,” he said.
Last fall, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital became a member of the Autism Care Network, the first and only network of its kind focused on better autism care, aimed to improve health and quality of life for children with autism and their families. The network is supported by Autism Speaks.
Upstate opened the Golisano Center for Special Needs in February 2021. Located in the Madison-Irving Medical Center, the center provides comprehensive, coordinated and scientifically-based medical and behavioral care for children and adolescents with many types of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Caption: Henry Roane, PhD, executive director of the Golisano Center for Special Needs, right, speaks with Esra Ceceli, director general of Services for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, and Burcu Ayahn Ekenc, head of Projects and International Relations Department from the Ministry of Family and Social Services.