Warren County Schools works to raise Autism awareness
The Warren Record - 4/19/2017
April is Autism Awareness Month, an endeavor that the National Autism Society began in the early 1970s and was officially adopted by Congress in 1984. Autism Awareness Month gained momentum with the 1999 release of the Autism Awareness puzzle piece ribbon and has grown each year since.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is five times more common in boys than girls.
Autism Awareness is supported on many levels from presidential/congressional declarations each year, local events such as sensory-friendly movies and activities, autism walks, the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaigns and others.
Warren County Schools' Autism Team, an 11-member group, is helping to raise awareness with a special project to create Autism Awareness pins for Warren County Schools staff and asked them to wear the pins beginning March 31 and throughout April. Pins were made for all school employees, Central Office staff, transportation and maintenance staff and board of education members.
The pins are made up of a painted puzzle piece-the iconic symbol for autism-and a multicolored autism puzzle piece ribbon.
The pins were created by multiple Exceptional Children's classrooms. Three EC classrooms at Mariam Boyd Elementary School and one EC classroom at Vaughan Elementary School painted individual puzzle pieces, and students from Warren New Tech and Warren Early College high schools helped to put the final touches on the pins and put them together.
Each pin was then attached to a card explaining the purpose of the Autism Awareness Ribbon and the complexities of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The goal of Autism Awareness Month is to not simply increase awareness, but to foster acceptance and appreciation for the uniqueness of every member of society.
One way ASD has been described is "if you meet one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." Each individual is as different as the colorful puzzle pieces on the ribbon in the challenges they face, but also works together to form the fabric of a community and a hope that as awareness increases, the acceptance of each of these differences will increase as well.
What can you do?
Share your experiences. If you have a child with ASD or have ASD yourself, get your story out there.Show support. Wear a puzzle piece ribbon in April; find local activities to be involved in.Be informed and learn about ASD. Help separate the facts from myths about ASD. The Autism Society of North Carolina is a great place to start; go to autismsociety-nc.org.Be involved. If you would like to know more about the Autism Team for Warren County Schools or have questions and concerns about a child with ASD, call 252-257-3184.