Gallarate, the terraLuna center for the treatment of autism opens on Friday 3 February –

Gallarate, the terraLuna center for the treatment of autism opens on Friday 3 February –
Gallarate, the terraLuna center for the treatment of autism opens on Friday 3 February –
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The inauguration of the first lot (mezzanine floor) of the earth centerMOONthe new cutting-edge center dedicated to the treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders wanted by the Bellora Foundation. The grand opening of this part of downtown, where 35 children have already been welcomed and cared forwill see the participation of the archbishop Mario Delpiniof the local and regional authorities, of the partners of the center and of the various realities that have contributed to the realization of the first phase of this ambitious and important project.

During the inauguration, in addition to the mezzanine floor, you can also visit the spaces already completed in the basement (kitchen, cooking center and restaurant/pizzeria) dedicated to a job placement project. The inauguration will also be an opportunity to attend the “exhibition of watercolors on terraLUNA”, promoted by the artist Silvia Faini in collaboration with Lions Club Gallarate Sepriowhose proceeds will be entirely donated to the terraLUNA center.

A great center for a great mission

The terraLUNA center was born for respond in an innovative and effective way to a socio-health emergency which involves many families in our area and beyond: the sudden and constant increase of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, autism has an incidence today of one case for every fifty-nine births. An alarming scenario that generates a need for qualified interventions, not always available. This discrepancy between supply and demand for care it leaves numerous families alone and disoriented, overwhelmed by concrete hardships and difficulties, and negatively affects the quality of life of many children, placing them on the margins of society.

A state-of-the-art facility

The terraLUNA center is the result of progressive redevelopment of the former Bonomelli school in Gallaratea complex of over 10,000 m2 in total with 3,300 m2 of greenery and courtyards located in the city centre, acquired by the Bellora Foundation in June 2018 and now undergoing an intense process of batch renovation which will lead it to become a place with a high professional, social and therapeutic profile, open to the public and unique in its kind. The start of the work on the mezzanine floor began thanks to a funding from the Lombardy Region and the Cariplo Foundationobtained through participation in a provincial announcement (Progetto Emblematico Maggiore, province of Varese, 2019), and also thanks to a new loan from the Bellora Foundation.

The redevelopment of the entire building responds to strict criteria of sustainability and energy saving and the individual rooms are designed to offer maximum comfort and clear reference points for the fragile person through a scrupulous use of design, systems, shapes and colours.

Many plans for a 360-degree treatment offer, unique in Europe

The center is structured in different lots, each with a specific goal of care and hospitality. On the mezzanine floor you will find the reception, the waiting room, the numerous rooms of care for individual and group therapies dedicated to children, the multipurpose room dedicated to trainingat conferences and garlic events and the bar/café open to the city And managed in collaboration with autistic children. THEthe second flooralready in an advanced stage of processing, hosts other nursing rooms and art and crafts workshops to promote the social and work inclusion of adolescents and young people.

The third floor will be dedicated to joint condominium for forms of protected co-housing for young people, while the apartments for adults are located on the fourth floor. The center will also be equipped with a gym and areas for motor activitiesof a therapy poolof a cultural pole with library, internet point and spaces for digital co-working and terraces external with greenhouses and educational gardens to cultivate together. In the basement there is the cooking center with the restaurant/pizzeria where the autistic children are employed.

The large outdoor space is open to the city and will host a square with gardens and pavilions for recreational and cultural activities.

The best practices of the terraLUNA project

1) Collaboration between public and private social entities for the common good. One of the aspects that characterize the activities of the terraLUNA center is the close collaboration between the public body UONPIA (Operational Unit of Neuropsychiatry of Childhood and Adolescence) District of Gallarate and the private social foundation Bellora ONLUS.

2) The creation of a single point of reference for families. The project contrasts the sense of abandonment and disorientation experienced by many families with a single unit of supply to rely on which concentrates skills, therapies, daily support, listening, warmth and much respect for these differently extraordinary minds.

3) The accompaniment of the entire life cycle of the person with ASD. One of the great problems of families with autistic children is that, when they come of age, they feel alone and abandoned. Free health care ends and the boy/girl and the family are left to themselves, with a whole life to manage and organize, up to the time of “After us”, that is when the parents will no longer be at their side children with autism. The terraLUNA center is structured precisely to create one continuity of care and support in all age groups, promoting the cognitive development, autonomy and effective social inclusion of children/teenagers/adults with ASD and also contributing to improving the quality of life of the family that loves and raises them.

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A new model of intervention based on scientific evidence

The center applies the most advanced methods of approach to autism, such asApplied Behavioral Analysis ABA and the Italian Model of Early and Intensive Intervention MIPIA which guarantee a greater intensity of care than traditional routes. The strong point of the therapeutic strategy is the active involvement of the reference figures of the child/adolescent with ASD: parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, specialized personnel. In this key, training plays a fundamental role, through courses designed to offer the school and the entire network surrounding the autistic person the concrete tools to approach the complexity of this syndrome multifactorial.

The scientific method was developed in partnership with IESCUM, European Institute for the Study of Human Behavior and was tested during the three-year period 2020/21/22 thanks to the project “Autism, a cross-border model of care and inclusion”, created with INTERREG Italy-Switzerland.

The job placement project dedicated to catering

In the basement of the terraLuna centre, a kitchen with a large cooking center which will serve i meals of the nearby RSA of the Bellora Foundation, a bakery laboratory, a restaurant/pizzeria and a bar (furnished thanks to the equipment provided by Rotary Malpensa) open to the city of Gallarate. Here, in a protected and normalizing context, 7 young people with autism, already selected, will work and currently engaged in training, so as to integrate into the world of work, enhance their resources and increase their personal autonomy.

The job placement project was developed by the Bellora Foundation in partnership with Enaip Lombardia, UONPIA Gallarate and the RESTAURANT TODAY company. The world of work represents an important growth ground, within which to create ad hoc projects with companies, to expand the skills of young people with ASD and build an important part of their future.

The inclusive living project

Another flagship of the project is the creation of aco-housing accommodation which they will host young people and adults with autism spectrum disorders inserted in paths of accompaniment to autonomy or in temporary residence to offer relief to families. Alongside them, the INCLUSIVE LIVING project also includes the presence of young people included in study or work courses, families included in evaluation and rehabilitation programs for minors, staff of the Autism Center and families who aspire to an experience of sharing and solidarity. The idea is to activate a “condominium of solidarity” based on the concept of mutual aid between disabled young people and able-bodied young people willing to collaborate in an exchange of continuous mutual learning.

Why all this? To counter the progressive social isolation which inevitably affects young adults with disabilities and to promote a new cultural paradigm that encourages openness towards others, authentic dialogue and acceptance of diversity. A work of extraordinary inclusiveness and sharing which, in order to be completed, has need the backing of proven lendersethical and sensitive, aware of the greatness of the work.

The building of the terraLUNA autism center is the beginning of a journey which requires partnerships, support and interventions from anyone who cares about a better world, which makes the most fragile people and families in difficulty protagonists and which truly places the importance of an equal existence for all at the centre.

Bellora Foundation thanks: Cariplo Foundation | Lombardy Region | Parish of Santa Maria Assunta, Diocese of Milan | Candiani DENIM | Rotary Clubs | APS Workshop | UBI Foundation for Varese onlus | Lions Club Gallarate Seprio | Diana ODV | GE.SA

Fondazione Bellora onlus manages two Healthcare Residences for the Elderly and an Integrated Day Center in the city of Gallarate. Since 2014 you have joined the “RSA Aperta” project to support the elderly and their families with flexible and integrated interventions. All of the Foundation’s activities are inspired by inviolable principles, shared and cultivated with passion by all those involved.

The article is in Italian

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