Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Family Resource Library

Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is April Fearby, the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) program specialist at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR). And I'm your host, Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, April. 

Guest: Hi Ernie, thanks for having me. 

Host: It's our pleasure. And you are the ideal person to talk about today's subject as not only do you oversee this program, you essentially built it from the ground up from other things that were happening at the agency. But to give people a background, what's the purpose of CYSHCN program? 

Guest: Yes, so the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs program or CYSHCN to shorten it up for us is to support the families in Orleans and Genesee County with children that are birth to 21 years old, that have a health condition, disability, learning disability or mental health concern or condition that affects a child's everyday life. So, we're here to support them and their needs. 

Host: Alright. And I guess the health departments of Genesee and Orleans counties are actually partners in this effort, are they not? 

Guest: They are. We're actually contracted through the county to run the program through Independent Living. So, we work hand in hand. 

Host: Alright. And some of ILGR's general programs also extend to a couple of other counties, but because of the funding streams for CYSHCN, you're pretty much tied to Genesee and Orleans. 

But you're here today to unveil the CYSHCN Family Resource Lbrary. What can you tell us about what that will do for people? 

Guest: Absolutely. So, it provides a resource for the children and their families to be able to test and identify tools and supports the help them in areas such as development, emotional regulation, support with health conditions or their disabilities, sensory processing, communication, learning disabilities, advocacy and a lot more. We actually offer different items; sensory toys, busy books, balance seats, tools that support your occupational, physical and speech therapy goals, which we know that unfortunately there is a long list of wait lists at times for these therapies, this can be a support for the family to kind of support themselves, but use the tools while they need it and it's try before you buy, because things are so expensive, right, Ernie? 

Host: Oh, indeed so. Unless you can get to be a a client of one of the state programs that will agree to take care of your needs, say that helps you put on a career path or some such. It really helps to know what is going to work for a person before they get out their billfold. People that have listened to Independent Perspective for a while will notice a lot of similarities between the Family Resource Library and something that they hear every once in a while on the show, which is University at Buffalo's Center for Assistive Technology, which also has loan of equipment so people try it before they buy it. From what I gather, the CYSHCN program is made from whole cloth and you didn't really even know about Center for Assistive Technology till I brought it up right? 

Guest: Yes, and not specifically, I never worked with them before or utilized them. I've heard of them, but I just came up with the idea to try to support families in our area. 

Host: Why not? Well, it makes sense considering the office of Center for Assistive Technology is in Amherst, that saves people in Batavia and environs from having to make the truck out there. I'm sure people will have questions. How can they reach you? 

Guest: They can reach me right at ILGR and our phone number is 518-815-8501 my extension is 401. 

And you can reach out to me anytime and you know, we mentioned the counties, Ernie. But even if you are from a different county, and you have a question, I'll direct you to the right place. So, I'm not going to leave you high and dry. 

Host: God bless you. Well, thank you so much for being with us today, April. 

Guest: Thanks Ernie. 

Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was April FearbyCYSHCN program specialist at ILGR. And I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.