Boca Raton, FL -- April 27, 2015 – Residents of Palm Beach County who are challenged by special needs, disability and mental health challenges have an opportunity to tell what services and supports are working, what needs improvement, and what is lacking. A Community Needs Assessment is currently taking place that covers nearly every aspect of living including education, healthcare access, housing, transportation, employment, and social/recreational opportunities. Two surveys are available online: one survey assesses the needs from a parent/caregiver perspective, the second survey seeks to understand the viewpoint of individuals who have been diagnosed with a special need, disability and/or mental health issue.
The online surveys will be available through May 20, 2015 and can be accessed by visiting www.UnicornChildrensFoundation.org and clicking on the appropriate survey link on the home page under Palm Beach County Speaks.
This “first of its kind endeavor” was spearheaded by Unicorn Children’s Foundation, a leader in the field of neurodiversity, to build a community of support, acceptance and opportunity. Unicorn’s Executive Director, Sharon Alexander expresses, “We want to know how Palm Beach County measures up as a place to live for individuals with unique needs and the only way we can be sure to get a complete picture is by asking people who really know - the individuals, families, and providers who are in the trenches every day.”
This comprehensive assessment will provide a coalition of community agencies with a foundation for a community development program that will allow individuals with special needs and disabilities an opportunity to be meaningfully engaged and included throughout a broad range of community activities. The following agencies have provided funding support for this assessment: Unicorn Children’s Foundation, Quantum Foundation, Federation of South Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council, Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, Autism After 21, Autism Project of Palm Beach County, Els for Autism and United Way of Palm Beach County.
Nearly 12% of Palm Beach County residents have some form of disability according to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey and it is imperative that we hear the voices of those who are often underestimated, isolated, and unfulfilled.
Established in 1994, Unicorn Children’s Foundation provides leadership, education, and funding of innovative programs to ensure that individuals with neurodiversity are appropriately assisted, supported, and included in least restrictive ways to maximize their full potential. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, the increase in prevalence of neurodiversity presents communities with serious health and social challenges. The latest statistics indicate that 1 of every 6 children is affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other learning disorders. For more information, please call (561) 620-9377 or visit www.UnicornChildrensFoundation.org.
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