News Article Details

Group hosting autism awareness events

Fergus Falls Daily Journal - 4/4/2019

April 04-- Apr. 4--In 2018 the CDC reported that 1 in 59 was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder is a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication according to Autism Speaks.

April is Autism Awareness Month, kicked off by World Autism Day on April 2.

In the Otter Tail County area, Empowering Kids in Perham is hosting several events to celebrate and bring awareness to autism.

On April 15, the group is hosting "Understanding Autism" a presentation from 6-7 p.m. to "talk about autism and the strengths and struggles individuals have and basic strategies to help support an individual that has autism."

On April 26, the group is hosting Sensory Friendly Hours at Goose Gang in Perham from 6-8 p.m. The open house is open to communities wanting to check out the new sensory area in Goose Gang and explore the space.

On April 28, the group is hosting a Temple Grandin Movie at Comet Theatre in Perham at 1 p.m. There will be free admission, popcorn, and pop. The movie is about an individual with autism and how she became a highly regarded livestock researcher and inventor.

Lake Region Healthcare Rehab Therapies Director, Angie Conklin said on the topic of Autism Awareness Month, "Lake Region Healthcare believes National Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness and autism acceptance. We strive to provide a wide variety of support to individuals and families affected by autism, including a highly skilled pediatric rehabilitation therapy team in speech, occupational & physical therapy services."

One of the programs introduced by Lake Region for those with autism is the Social Butterflies summer program that works with children to learn to communicate. The program was introduced last summer and will be back for the summer of 2019.

"The program is designed to help kids who might be challenged with their social skills learn and practice skills such as saying 'hi', understanding personal space, taking turns when in a group, and sharing among other skills," Conklin said. "Social interaction is a skill that is difficult for many children and the Social Butterflies group has helped many children in our community, with or without Autism. Dates and details for this summer's session will be announced later this spring."

Some ways to celebrate Autism Awareness Month according to Autism Speaks and the Autism Society to get involved with a local organization such as the Autism Society of Minnesota, wear blue in support, and donate to organizations benefiting the Autism community.


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