Autism Awareness Month: A Look Back
|Thank you to Kirsten Malenke who interviewed me about the Children’s Communication Center’s participation with Autism Awareness Month! Below is an excerpt from her Advance Healthcare Network article. (2016)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complicated disorders of brain development, characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. According to the CDC, one in 68 children is classified as being on the autism spectrum.
In 1965, the Autism Society of America was established by Bernard Rimland, PhD, and Ruth Sullivan, PhD, along with parents of children with autism. The mission of the Autism Society is to improve the lives of those living with autism by increasing public awareness about the everyday issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for services, and providing information regarding treatment, education, and research. The Autism Society is a not-for-profit organization composed of a network of 100 affiliates that spans the nation.
Lori Savage Grayson, MMSc, CCC-SLP, FSL, is the founder and director of the Children’s Communication Center Inc. in Tallahassee, Fla. With almost 40 years of experience, Grayson has seen many changes in the field of autism research as well as the challenges those with autism face as they mature over the years. Grayson’s passion for helping those affected by autism is evident in the many ways she and the center participated in their community last month.
The center celebrated Autism Awareness Month from day one, starting with the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue Event. Each day they posted articles relating to autism and advertised local events and services on their social media sites. They helped sponsor the Autism Speaks U Club 5K at Florida State University, as well as a community art project called Together and Able that was featured in a local art festival. The center shared the Autism Navigator, an online collection of web-based tools for parents and healthcare professionals created by the Florida State University Autism Institute. It also promoted a local sensory friendly skating night and The Chocolate Spectrum, a Florida-based artisan chocolate company created by a speech-language pathologist for her son and other individuals with developmental disabilities who are hired, trained and employed.
Grayson said, “Each of us deserves the best opportunity to communicate, play, tell stories, share emotions, learn, gain an education, achieve, succeed and be happy with family and friends. While each person with autism has different strengths and areas of need, they share common challenges with social, communication, and language skills. I am a speech-language pathologist and that’s why I think autism awareness is important. Autism affects one in every 68 children and at the same time it affects all of us. Together, we are making a difference.“
READ MORE Update: 2018, this link does not appear to be active at this time.