April is Autism Acceptance Month or National Autism Awareness Month. This month is designated to promote awareness of autism and autism spectrum disorders and shine light on the unique abilities that people with autism bring.
Autism is a neurological condition that is typically diagnosed by the age of 3, but may be diagnosed later in life. Children with autism, just like any other child, vary significantly and display a wide range of conditions. Autism often affects a person’s communication abilities, impact social skills, nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder and people with autism each have a unique experience with their own challenges and strengths. Some individuals with autism may need significant help with their daily life and require a parent or paid direct support professional to assist them with daily living tasks. While other people with autism live entirely independent or with very little assistance.
Early Intervention, a service provided by the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities, can help children with autism meet developmental milestones. The development of appropriate social or speech skills through early intervention and preschool can build skills that lead to positive outcomes later in life.
At the Shelby County Board of DD, not only do we provide early childhood services, but we provide case management services through our Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) to guide families through the education process. Once that chapter is over, the Shelby County Board of DD can assist people with autism try out jobs in the community and, hopefully, find the right job for them. Our SSAs also assist people with autism and their families find the right types of support for them to live as independently as possible.
Something new in Shelby County is our Autism and Sensory Disorder Caregivers Support Group. This group meets at the Shelby County Board of DD on the second Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. For more information on this group, please call Jessica Guillozet at 937-658-6825.