Events & News

Autism Awareness Month: There is hope


            One in every 68 children in America has an autism diagnosis. One in six children aged 3 to 17 has a developmental disability. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability. Every person is different, affected at varying degrees, advises the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.) The CDC explains that autism causes “significant social, communication and behavioral changes.” What does that all mean?

            The Autism Society says “Some behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language, difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation.” They also struggle with “reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities.”

            Some things to look for if you suspect a delay in your child’s development include:

  • Delay or lack of spoken language.
  • Little or no eye contact or prefers to be alone.
  • Doesn’t seem interested in relationships with other children.
  • Isn’t spontaneous in play or make believe play.
  • Not pointing at objects of interest or looking when someone else says something like, “Look at the airplane.”
  • The child doesn’t understand other people’s feelings and doesn’t talk about their own.
  • The child is interested in other people but doesn’t understand how to talk, play or relate to them.

            The list is lengthy. It boils down to understanding the stages of child development and what to do when you think something just doesn’t seem right to you. At first mention of your concerns, the medical community might not see what you see. Don’t stop looking for the answers you need for your child’s best interests.

            “Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to diagnose the problem,” says the CDC. The earlier the ASD is diagnosed, the better for your child.

            Television actor Ed Asner and his son, Matt Asner, were interviewed about being fathers of children with autism. The elder Asner said his son was headstrong growing up and there wasn’t a tree the boy wouldn’t climb. He thought that those were good things for his son.But nursery school teachers, kindergarten and first grade teachers noticed some things and advised the Asners to take a closer look.

            Matt Asner said when it came to his own sons he and their mother recognized something wasn’t right. They had to push to get a diagnosis. One of the most important things to do when you get a diagnosis, Matt Asner said, is to meet other people who also are dealing with ASD. Hope is important, because there is hope, he said. Parents have to work with their children. Parents have to change the way they do things. (You can watch the video at

            The CDC has a Milestone Tracker app for your phone that will help you monitor your child’s development, things like what they should be doing at certain ages. There are other videos and resources available at the website to help you provide for your child’s best interests. .

            April is National Autism Awareness Month.

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