Child Advocacy Center

The ongoing and expansive development of child advocacy centers across the United States and beyond has proven to be a positive initiative tin both streamlining and creating more effective environments for all. Child advocacy centers have also begun to develop adaptations for working with children with disabilities as well. Some of those ideas can be found on the website under Issues of Concern - Some of the resources and materials below were developed over a period of years at the Butler Child Advocacy Center, Bronx, NY by this Team as a result of a project (i.e. Moving Mountains) funded by the Lowenstein Foundation, NY.

Activity Checklist

It is important for any child, but especially for children with disabilities, to understand more clearly and concretely the environment they will be entering, especially if it is new or breaks their usual schedule. Increased amounts of anxiety and confusion can occur if there is not a concerted effort to explain what to expect on some level. Development of this Activity Checklist can be of assistance in helping any child adapt to a new environment/situation more positively and quickly. 

Expansion of Intake Information

It is often useful to get more Intake information in certain areas prior to a child arriving for an interview especially when it involves a child with a disability. That expansion of information can help provide details that might assist personnel in preparing for the arrival of a child that might need specific accommodations (e.g. lighting, interpreters, environmental changes (e.g. space, quiet, etc.) if the interview process is going to be successful. Failure to gather this information ahead of time can create additional frustrations or challenges that could be avoided.

Interviewing with Visual Supports.

Visual supports are a way of making auditory information visual. When we present information verbally, the words are available for a brief moment.  When we present information visually it can be there for as long as the child needs it.  For some children with disabilities it is only by using the visuals that they will be able to attach meaning to words.  Oftentimes these types of visual supports are very familiar to children with disabilities as they are standardized and used in schools to enhance communication.  Many options available for developing these types of communication boards. Here are some examples that can be downloaded with LOGON:  Body Parts Boy; Body Parts Girl; How to Talk to Me; Locations; Quick Responses and Interviewing with Visual Supports.

Social Stories

Social Stories is a tool for teaching social skills to children with autism and many related disabilities. They provide an individual with accurate information about those situations that he/she may find difficult or confusing. The situation is described in detail and focus is given to a few key points: the important social cues, the events and reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of him/her, and why. We developed 3 such stories to use at a CAC. An example of one of them is available for review as a video version ("Oh No, I Have to Wait" (English and Spanish)).  It was developed in a PowerPoint format with audio and then installed on a laptop which could be individually accessed by users at a NYS-CAC.