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Saturday, May 18, 2024

WDSRA: April is Autism Acceptance Month

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With 1 in 27 boys identified with ASD, boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls. ASD is found across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

What exactly is ASD? The Autism Society indicates that ASD “is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is often referred to as a ‘spectrum condition’ that affects people differently and to varying degrees.”

Essentially, ASD is a group of complex disorders of brain development. It’s characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. In other words, a person with autism may have difficulty with sensory stimulation and processing which may manifest itself with behaviors that seem quirky; they may interpret language very literally; they may be non-verbal; and they may be socially awkward for their age.

It’s categorized as a spectrum disorder because of the broad range of strengths and challenges that accompanies an individual’s diagnosis. Across the spectrum there can be individuals who function at a very high level and others who may have significant challenges. Every individual on the spectrum is different. The manifestations vary so widely that there is a saying to keep in mind, ‘if you meet one person with autism, you have met one person with autism”.

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Previously known as Autism Awareness Month, the name change actually took place in 2021. Efforts continue to focus on building a better awareness of the signs, symptoms and realities of autism. The change to ‘acceptance’ recognizes efforts to go further by creating connections and promoting inclusivity in everyday life.

At the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) that is exactly what our programs are designed to do. With WDSRA, individuals with ASD choose programs based on their interests. Our staff assist in helping foster peer-to-peer connections, especially for those who are challenged with social skills. And by focusing on community-based recreation, every individual is immersed in the community in which they live.

During April, Autism Acceptance Month, take moment to learn more. Whether it be about autism or WDSRA, learning more can make a difference in the life of a relative, neighbor, friend or coworker living with autism.

Learn more about WDSRA at www.wdsra.com.

Read more about ASD at autismsociety.org or www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-awareness-day.

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Sherry Manschot
Sherry Manschothttp://www.wdsra.com
Sherry Manschot is the Marketing/Public Relations Manager at Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. She can be contacted at sherrym@wdsra.com. Learn about WDSRA at www.wdsra.com.
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