For many years, April has been deemed National Autism Awareness Month. Along with raising awareness, much of the month revolves around educating people on autism and the issues faced by families in the autism community. Autism is a developmental disability characterized by difficulties with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors or narrow or obsessive interests. Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder all fall under the broad category of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
As the fastest-growing developmental disability in the country –there is an increased need for services. About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).
To help address our needs locally, we have a couple programs to support those affected by autism. These programs include our CounterPoint Autism program, Rivendale School and No Limits Summer Camp. Our CounterPoint Department provides residential supports, a therapeutic recreation program, Saturday respite and family and community services. While our Summer Camp and Rivendale School are not exclusively for autism, over half of the individuals that utilize these services fall under the Autism Spectrum.
On April 2nd, we observed World Autism Awareness Day in an effort to shine light on autism and the growing need for services and understanding. We will also be partnering with the Price Cutter Charity Championship to sponsor Go Blue FORE Autism Championship Sunday on August 13th. The Arc of the Ozarks will be at the 18th hole under a big blue tent at Highland Springs Country Club. There will be information about The Arc, the autism services we offer and blue goodies for everyone. Everyone in attendance is encourage to wear blue to show support for The Arc and increase autism awareness. Families affected by autism will get free entry to the event on Sunday. All the money raised from this event will fund The Arc’s No Limits Summer Camp, a camp for children ages 6-21 with developmental disabilities.