April Brings Attention To Autism
World Autism Day occurs on April 2nd. Nationally, the month of April is also known as Autism Awareness Month. As such, I want to bring attention to this developmental disability affecting many families in our region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is described as a group of developmental disabilities causing significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. It is estimated that one in 68 children has been identified as having some form of ASD. It is important to note that individuals diagnosed with ASD differ greatly in their learning, thinking and problem-solving abilities. Some individuals may be mildly affected by the disorder, while others are significantly disabled.
The National Institute of Mental Health further characterizes ASD as:
• Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
• Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
• Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and
• Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
There are a variety of organizations that provide helpful resources and information regarding ASD. One such organization is the Autism Society, which was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, Ph. D whose own son was diagnosed with ASD. Since its formation the Autism Society has grown to include more than 100,000 members and supporters of whom are connected through a working network of affiliates nationwide. The Autism Society is dedicated to its role of increasing public awareness about ASD and the day-to-day challenges faced by individuals, families and professionals affected by ASD. If you would like to learn more visit the Autism Society.
In the Coastal Bend region, there are two organizations dedicated to helping those who suffer from ASD. The first is the the Autism Spectrum Resource Center of Corpus Christi, which helps provide support and activities for those on the Autism Spectrum and their families. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is another local organization helping those with developmental disorders including ASD. CARD focuses on creating personalized programs tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals struggling with Autism. Additional information regarding CARD’s treatment programs can be found at Autism Spectrum Resource Center of Corpus Christi.
If you would like to review more about the legislature, please visit the Texas Legislature online. If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 512-463-0672.