Autism National Foundation
Autism National Foundation Armenia was established in 2012 on the basis of “MY WAY” Socio-Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Day Care Center for Children and Teenagers with Autism founded in 2006. The center was established by 2 mothers of children with autism, they brought in the most advanced and internationally recognized methodology and foreign expertise. Since the commencement of services, the exemplary base of trained specialists has grown from 5 to over 70 professionals, the number of beneficiaries over last 15 years has grown from 6 children to 200 beneficiaries, age 1.5 to 30+ y.o.
Our mission is to increase public awareness of the problems of people with autism, to provide highest standard services to people with autism in loving, safe and open-minded environment, to contribute to their development, to facilitate and support their life and the life of their family members, to enable them to feel appreciated, to provide quality past-time opportunities, to engage in meaningful activities, to contribute to the revealing of their individual capabilities and talents and to becoming valid society members.
The services provided in the center range from behavioral therapy to speech therapy, adapted physical culture classes, dance therapy, music therapy, sessions with psychologists, custom-tailored academical classes, sensory room sessions, art classes, various developmental classes, individual and small group sessions and activities, socialization activities, indoor and outdoor, self-service, and other skills development, as well as quality past-time activities.
The most important element of the therapies and developmental program for teenagers and young adults with autism is Vocational Training. Combined with ongoing therapies and classes, it is the key part of the center overall program, the base of further development of our beneficiaries, the guarantee of their meaningful and productive past-time and even further employment opportunities, outside and inside the center.
Our teenagers and adults are included in various workshops, based on their capabilities and preferences. They produce greeting cards, various souvenirs, pottery: decorative items, mugs, plates, jugs, vases, sew bags from fabric, decorate the bags with own drawings, produce hand-made, individually painted scarfs, semi-precious stone bracelets, key chains, recycle paper and produce decorative paper, stuffed toys, other accessories, art works and crafts. The greeting cards production unit is one of most active units of vocational training program, it started four years ago, when the students were able to contribute to approx. 20% of the process. In just couple of months since the commencement the skills of our teenagers were already developed to the extent when they produce the cards on their own, with no or very little assistance of our therapists.
The cards are being sold at fairs, by the students themselves. The aim of cards production unit, as well as of other elements of vocational training program is to provide students with possibilities of meaningful and productive past-time, to enable them to feel appreciated and useful, to further develop their fine motor skills, flexibility of choice and esthetic taste, to lay grounds for further possible skills development, future employment, to introduce them to earning principles. The proceeds from sales are directed to the acquisition of materials needed for ongoing production, so that the eventual goal of self-sustainability of the unit is reached, and to the students past-time activities, when they enjoy a cafe or karaoke or other common undertaking, spending the amount they earned. “My Way” has no branches in any administrative district.