From serving a single individual in 1924 to touching the lives of more than 500 today, Anderson Center for Autism has always worked toward fostering positive outcomes. A common phrase to some, but for all of us at Anderson it symbolizes hope, fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Most educational institutions are guided solely by regulations and minimum standards, but Anderson Center is committed to going above and beyond to provide the best possible outcomes for each individual we serve-from childhood to adulthood.
All Individuals Deserve to Live a Life of Quality
What makes for a good life? Whether neurotypical or on the autism spectrum, all people deserve to live a life of quality. Anderson Center has adopted a Lifelong Learning System that is founded on the measurement of an individual’s quality of life (Q of L) and developed system wide initiatives that are directed at optimizing this outcome. The San Martin Scale is an evidence-based tool that measures all of the components that comprise a life of quality. This measure will be used to direct agency actions specific to the needs of an individual as well as larger agency-wide initiatives for all the individuals we serve.
In partnership with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Anderson Center’s adaptation of the tool has been translated and validated in an attempt to gain further insight and opportunities to provide meaningful outcomes for everyone we serve, children and adults.
Eight Domains of Quality of Life
At Anderson Center for Autism, we use all the tools at our command to listen carefully and explore deeply in order to best understand where each individual relates to the Q of L Domains at a given point in their lives. This allows us to see patterns of growth over time, and identify areas where we could better support an individual in fulfilling their desires and dreams.
> Self-Determination: encouraging personal choice and involvement in decision-making, as well as ability for self-expression
> Emotional Well-Being: understanding observable behaviors and forms of expression, and taking measures to provide stable and supportive environments and interactions
> Physical Well-Being: helping to provide and manage adequate diet, hygiene, physical activity, and health-related support
> Material Well-Being: providing a sense of personal physical space, a comfortable communication system, and a well-adapted environment
> Rights: displaying ethics, respect, discretion, and privacy
> Personal Development: providing opportunities for enrichment, obtainment and demonstration of new skills, and stimulation in varied areas
> Social Inclusion: providing opportunities to visit other environments, enjoyment of inclusive environments and events, and participation outside normal program perimeters
> Interpersonal Relations: utilizing best practices in communicating information, encouraging opportunities for personal interactions, celebrating events of personal importance, and providing understanding on an individual level
Quality of life is not a formula, but rather the mission of Anderson Center for Autism that directs all programming toward optimizing each individual’s quality of life. Living this mission daily in our work with individuals, we see its extraordinary impact on families, neighbors and communities. As one person grows and achieves their desired outcomes, others around them notice and respond in new ways that reinforce and continue to build a positive cycle of quality of life. This mission is at the heart and soul of the work of our 800 dedicated employees.