2021 Milestones National Autism Conference
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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

Home About Us Diversity & Inclusion at Milestones

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Addressing Disparities and Injustice

The work of Milestones Autism Resources is deeply rooted in the mission of creating a more inclusive society. The organization strives to address gaps in service, support the underserved, and bring about positive change.

These are crucial issues for the autism community. Although autism rates are the same across racial/ethnic groups, autism is more likely to be identified in white children than in black or Hispanic children. And when children of color are identified with autism, the diagnosis often comes later than it does for white children. Because of this later diagnosis, children of color may miss years of treatment and may require longer and more intensive intervention.  

To address this issue, Milestones works to proactively reach out to diverse communities so that everyone affected by autism -- regardless of race, ethnicity, and income level—is able to access the life-changing services they need. Underscoring its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues, Milestones established a Diversity Taskforce and hired a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Coordinator.

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History

In 2017, Milestones Autism Resources was approached by community members to address the unique challenges relating to obtaining an autism diagnosis for people of color. Milestones mission is to provide resources and education to all communities; but we recognized that our blind spots meant that we needed to increase our efforts to collaborate with and learn from communities of color. In late 2017, Milestones created the Diversity Task Force composed of 20 parents, self-advocates, staff, board members and community members. 

The Taskforce met for a year to discuss gaps in services and areas of high priority within the autism services realm that impact people of color differently. The Taskforce members established priorities around reducing racial bias among first responders, educators, and health care professionals. In 2019, Salina Miller was hired as Milestones’ first DEI Coordinator. 

Addressing racial/ethnic gaps in service delivery is paramount. During the COVID-19 crisis, Milestones has adapted to conduct its trainings online. 

Milestones DEI Implementation Highlights

  • Creation and delivery of healthcare trainings to medical residents and students focused on:
    • Disparity in diagnosis amongst communities of color
    • Unconscious bias in diagnosis and treatment
    • Implemented Safety Training
  • Development and implementation of police and first responder training on safely interacting with individuals with autism.
  • Development and implementation of safety training for high school students with disabilities and school security personnel.
  • Certification in Be Safe Curriculum, a tool to teach teens and adults on the autism spectrum to interact safely with the police in everyday encounters. 
  • Increased representation of diversity in planning, execution and presenters of the Milestones National Autism Conference.
  • Increased marketing of Milestones programs, ASD resources and support to communities of color 
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The Future of DE&I at Milestones: Embedding DE&I into the Fabric of Milestones to ensure its Sustainability, Program Alignment, and Employee and Community Engagement

Thank you to The Begun Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, and the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation for assistance in funding the Milestones DE&I Initiative.

Diversity Task Force Members

Nicole Crews, Swagelok, Diversity Taskforce Chair, Milestones Board Chair
Carole Ballard, ADAMHS Board
Doug Blecher, Autism Personal Coach
Raesin Caine, Blogger
Terri Eason, The Cleveland Foundation, Milestones Board Member
Karen Estrella, Cleveland Clinic Independence Family Health Center
Teirra Everett
Karen Frank, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Timothy Goler, Norfolk State University
Kim Goodman, Blogger
Debra Greene, Milestones Board Member
John Harrison, Ulmer & Berne, Milestones Board Member

Sharon Hummer, East Cleveland City Schools
Saundra Jordan, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Charlotte Kennedy, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Judith Lozada, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Beverly Malone, Milestones Autism Resources
Karen Murray, East Cleveland Public Library
Lorraine Pennick, The Diversity Center
Belinda Saldana, Milestones Autism Resources
Aaron Schatzman
April Stephens, Autism From Another Spectrum, LLC
Steve Wexberg, Cleveland Clinic Beachwood Family Center

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