Mayor Gillum Hosts Autism Navigator’s Briefing

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Florida State University’s (FSU) College of Medicine hosted the First Words/Autism Navigator’s Briefing at the City Commission Chamber on Wednesday.

The new resources and tools that were shared at this event focused on early childhood development for families and professionals, such as, the Autism Navigator.

The Autism Navigator is a program that increases the capacity of health care and early intervention providers, educators and families to improve outcomes of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

FSU’s College of Medicine faculty and staff created the program as a collection of web-based tool to bridge the gap between science and community practices.

"We are excited to share our new online resources and tools for families and professionals," said Amy Wetherby, FSU’s College of Medicine research professor.

One of the professionals that was also excited and showed her support on behalf of Florida A&M University (FAMU) was the Interim Dean for the College of Education, Patricia Green Powell.

“FAMU wants to be a part of all this,” Powell said. “Just coming together and working toward the greater good of our children.”

Mayor Gillum is helping cut off the linkage between early childhood development and community issues such as: crime, unemployment, and education inequalities. FSU and other key stakeholders in the state, understands the importance in the change of children's learning trajectories at a very young age that impacts their academic success.

"With the momentum of Mayor Gillum's Family First Initiative, we should see an immediate impact on children and families in Tallahassee,” Wetherby said.

The Autism Navigator’s Briefing event, along with three others, is a part of the Family First Initiative, a week of events centered around childhood development and its connection it shares with community issues.

"Family First week allows us another opportunity to continue our community's development as a more dynamic and nurturing place for children and families to grow strong," Gillum said.

For more information about Mayor Gillum's Family First Initiative and the Autism Navigator, visit