Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has recognized Brett Anthony as April’s Citizen of the Month for his continued efforts to raise awareness about autism.
Anthony, 27, who resides in the City of Middletown, was diagnosed with high functioning autism as a child and is an advocate for those affected by autism spectrum disorder. Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and talents.
“Brett has served as a role-model and an inspiration to others diagnosed with autism and I’m proud to highlight his efforts in the community,” Neuhaus said. “Raising awareness about autism is extremely important and helps to provide more children with early intervention and the services that they need. Brett and his family have been at the forefront of this movement. Brett is a bright and hardworking young man, and it’s especially gratifying to recognize him during Autism Awareness Month.”
Anthony was diagnosed with autism, which affects approximately one in 68 children in the U.S. when he was 3½ years old. At that time, services for the condition were not readily available and not much was known about autism. However, Anthony flourished in the Orange-Ulster BOCES Structured Teaching Reinforced in a Visual Environment (STRIVE) and Pine Bush High School’s inclusion program.
When Anthony graduated from Pine Bush his parents, Jay and Carol, learned that transitional-type services for young adults with autism were sparse and not easily identified. It was the impetus for his parents to create The Anthony Family Foundation for Autism Support, Inc. in 2011. The nonprofit was formed to provide life skills and a place for companionship for moderately functional autistic young adults between the ages of 18 to 30-years-old.
It also assists young adults classified within the autism spectrum with the transition to functional, independent adulthood. The Foundation’s Center, located in Middletown, helps individuals develop and participate as full members of the community. Anthony benefited from the programs the Foundation offers and has served as a dedicated spokesman.
He has also spoken publicly about challenges that he has overcome through the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State at Thrall Library and has also been a guest speaker at special education classes at SUNY New Paltz. He lives on his own and works two part-time jobs as a service clerk at both Marshalls and ShopRite in the Town of Wallkill.
“The way I see it, we are one, but some people look at us as outsiders,” Brett Anthony said. “I want to show people another way. When you see a person with disabilities, who does things differently than you do, take time to understand them and include them. We are all unique in our own way. The world would be boring if we were surrounded by people who all have the same attitude and gifts. We are human beings and we have feelings as well.”
Added Anthony: “It is an honor to be named Citizen of the Month by County Executive Neuhaus. I hope this will help people understand what autism is and prove to everyone that people with autism can do many things despite our challenges.”
Neuhaus introduced his Citizen of the Month Award, which acknowledges outstanding Orange County residents, in January of 2017. To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, please email email@example.com or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information. Nominees must be from Orange County.
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.