Events, News

STARability Partners with CCSO for Family Forum: Understanding the Autism Support Project

STARability Partners with CCSO for Family Forum: Understanding the Autism Support Project

STARability Foundation, in partnership with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Greater Naples Fire Department, will host a Family Forum on Monday, Sept. 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Collier Community Foundation’s meeting room at 1110 Pine Ridge Road. Led by Sergeant Dan McDonald and Assistant Chief Andy Krajewski, the forum will highlight the CCSO’s Autism Support Project. This free event is open to the public, with virtual participation available.

Registration is required; reservations can be made online through Sept. 16 at

In November 2021, the CCSO initiated the Autism Support Project led by Sgt. McDonald in an effort to provide an educational resource for students, families and adults in our community. The forum will focus on the program’s goal to expand awareness for autism throughout the community. CCSO is actively training local first responders while educating community partners in the best practices to recognize and interact with individuals with autism in Collier County.

“The Collier County Sheriff’s Office Autism Support Project continues to grow through its partnerships with public safety agencies and our community partners,” said Sgt. McDonald. “By the end of 2022, we will have educated more than 1,200 first responders and citizens. Our established connection with STARability has proven beneficial for both programs and the community. We look forward to continuing to support those within Collier County touched by autism to everybody’s benefit for many years to come.”

Assistant Chief Krajewski will also discuss the fire department’s efforts to support those affected by autism and other disabilities, including autism-based training, fire safety recommendations as it relates to those with autism, and what occurs when the fire department is dispatched to a residence, motor vehicle accident or fire scene.

“We are honored to partner with CCSO and the Greater Naples Fire Department to raise awareness about the Autism Support Project, share how it will benefit the community and highlight ways the fire department supports individuals with autism and other disabilities,” said Karen Govern, CEO of STARability. “We would also like to thank Laurie Sullivan, STARability’s director of operations, for planning these informative family forums and recommending this important and timely topic.”

STARability offers Family Forums semiannually on a variety of topics, featuring engaging presentations, open discussion, networking and valuable takeaways to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and their families.