Welcome to
The ANT at Letchworth State Park

The Autism Nature Trail (The ANT)

A unique experience in nature, designed specifically for visitors with ASD, their families, teachers and caregivers -- but enjoyed by all ages and all abilities!

To be located in spectacular Letchworth State Park in western New York - voted #1 state park in the country (2015) and #1 attraction in New York State (2017)!

What We Want To Do

Provide a unique experience in nature with its healing qualities for all ages and abilities

Create a first-of-its-kind trail designed specifically for those with ASD/intellectual disabilities

Offer an accommodating, “judgment-free” zone for families living with ASD to enjoy together AND make outdoor family recreation affordable, convenient, accessible and fun!

We are committed to raising $2,000,000 in 2018 with a focus on major naming opportunities

We need the support of your organization, your business, your co-workers,

your friends, your family and YOU! 

The ANT Design Schematic

ANT SPONSOR AWARDED $2 MILLION NIH GRANT

How a $2M Grant Could Change the Way Autism Is Diagnosed (Amanda Pedersen)

   Early treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can significantly improve the lives of affected children and their families, but diagnosing the disorder is often a challenge. A company in Syracuse, NY has developed an epigenetic test that could facilitate the early diagnosis of ASD, however, and in turn accelerate access to treatment.

   The technology, developed by Quadrant Biosciences, managed to impress a panel of grant reviewers, landing the company a $2 million small business technology transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institutes of Health. The funds are expected to help the company refine the technology and bring it to market. 

   STTR grants are meant to facilitate the translation of promising technologies to the private sector and ultimately provide beneficial healthcare innovations to consumers. The technology was developed in partnership with researchers at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and Quadrant Biosciences.

   "This grant will allow us to validate epigenetic technology with the power to dramatically advance autism assessment," said Steven Hicks, MD, PhD, a researcher at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. “I am honored to play a part in this groundbreaking work.”

   Quadrant and the company’s collaborators recently completed an NIH-funded study that included more than 500 children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years and utilized RNA features to differentiate children with ASD from peers with typical development or developmental delay. The diagnostic accuracy of the technology exceeded 85%, the company noted. The additional NIH funding is expected to further develop and confirm the efficacy of the test. The next phase of the study expands enrollment to five different academic medical center locations around the United States and involves recruitment of 750 additional children. As in the first study, the study includes not only ASD and typically developing children, but also children with developmental delays that are often difficult for clinicians to distinguish from ASD.

   "While our results thus far have been very promising, further evaluation is always warranted," said Randall Carpenter, MD, executive director of clinical development at Quadrant Biosciences.


CONGRATULATIONS TO PRESIDENT RICH UHLIG AND EVERYONE AT QUADRANT BIOSCIENCES -- AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF THE AUTISM NATURE TRAIL AT LETCHWORTH STATE PARK!

CONGRATS, JEN!

News from the Rochester Women's Network

Jennifer Hackett, Executive Director of Camp Puzzle Peace/Family Autism Center of Rochester, is a 2018 Women Inspiring Women Award honoree. Jen and her staff are the operational partners for the Autism Nature Trail -- we are in great hands!

GUIDEBOOK FOR THE ANT


Dr. Skott Jones has authored a guidebook for caregivers to facilitate language development along the mile-and-a-quarter Autism Nature Trail (The ANT) at Letchworth State Park.


Dr. Jones, Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Ithaca College, completed the project while on sabbatical during the fall 2017 term.


“At each station on the trail,” Dr. Jones writes, “there are ample opportunities to use language to describe the various sensory experiences of an individual. By collating evidence-based facilitative language strategies into a parent-friendly guidebook specifically designed for the trail, caregivers will have the opportunity to model for and elicit language from children with autism spectrum disorders.”


The five principles of facilitating language in children with ASD are based on 30 years of research and are presented in this easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide for use by parents, teachers and other caregivers visiting The ANT.


Dr. Jones has been a highly engaged member of The ANT Advisory Panel since its inception in 2015. We are grateful to him and to Ithaca College for their extraordinary commitment to this project.





ANT CONSULTANTS


Our logo was created by RUSTY KEELER, a key member of The ANT consultant team.  Over the past two decades, Rusty has worked with hundreds of community, school, parks, university and childcare leaders to dream, design and construct engaging outdoor environments for the young and the young at heart. He is a pioneer in the movement to reconnect children to nature, and his designs reflect his sincere desire to create a more beautiful world in which to grow and explore.



DR. AMY LAURENT, principal autism consultant to The ANT, is a developmental psychologist and occupational therapist who serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Rhode Island. She is one of four collaborators who developed SCERTS®, an innovative educational model for working with children with autism spectrum disorder and their families. Her research and publications have focused on the development of emotional regulation in children and adolescents with ASD and its impact social competence.

"NEXT STEP" PARTNERS

SENSORY-FRIENDLY BUSINESSES


Glen Iris Inn Restaurant, Castile

A “quiet tables area” available, trained staff and accommodating menu choices

Lila Pilates, Perry

Individual/group instruction in body awareness and agility by a NYS certified teacher/LMT   

Silver Lake Twin Drive-In Theater, Silver Lake

First-run movies in the comfort of your own vehicle with volume and light control

Sinclair Pharmacy, Warsaw

Full-service pharmacy with trained staff and expertise in custom medications

Spotlight Theater, Warsaw

 “Free To Be Me” (sensory-friendly) Movie Matinees the 2nd Saturday of each month

Theatre @ 37, Perry

Workshops in puppetry to increase communication skills with specially trained staff

ORGANIZATIONS

 

Boy Scout Troop 54, Castile


Genesee Region Special Olympics, Rochester


Letchworth Gateway Villages, Geneseo/Mt. Morris/Perry


Perry Main Street Association, Perry


Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency, Warsaw


EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

 

Bryant & Stratton College, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program


Canisius College, Institute for Autism Research


Nazareth College, Center for Civic Engagement


Western New York Tech Academy


ANTS RULE!




Genesee Valley Educational Partnership teacher Olie Olson presents our new ANT made from 100% recycled materials by welding students from Wayland-Cohocton High School in Steuben County, NY.  This extraordinary piece of sculpture was crafted from discarded farm equipment and will serve as a seat  (which moves gently up and down),  a percussion instrument (the head, thorax and abdomen each make a different sound when tapped), and a conversation piece (the detail is seen best in the shadow), Thank you, Mr. Olson and students!





 Did you know:  Ants have varied sleeping patterns from naps of just a few seconds to a few minutes — but they rest only as much as they need to. They make use of every moment they have.

Endorsements Boost Our Visibility

We feel very fortunate to be supported by such respected individuals as autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin, actor and activist Joe Mantegna, researcher and autism expert Dr. Amy Laurent, AutismUp Director Sarah Milko, and Head of New York City's LearningSpring School Margaret Poggi. 

If you haven’t seen these endorsements, be sure to download them from the link below!

Video

Check out this great video by Joe Mantegna in support of The ANT!

SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

Please come back soon! For more information, see below.

We are committed to autism awareness, acceptance and understanding every month of the year. Follow us as we finalize plans for The ANT and raise the funds needed to construct and endow it PERMANENTLY!

Contact Us about The ANT

NAMING OPPORTUNITIES ARE NOW AVAILABLE! Please call us at (585) 201-8066. Want to know how you can help? Want to be kept informed on our progress? Drop us a line!

EVERY MONTH SHOULD BE THE MONTH TO ACCEPT AND UNDERSTAND AUTISM AND ALL INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES!