News Article Details

Autism activities attract large crowd

Sentinel Echo - 4/27/2018

Games, activities and a silent auction were the drawing factors of this year's Action for Autism event that brought hundreds of people to the North Laurel High School football field on Saturday.

The event was one of the most attended of its history thus far, and organizers were well pleased with the participation by vendors and the public.

Numerous vendors were on hand to display their products, while local businesses and individuals donated items for the silent auction, which raised funds to continue to bring awareness to this complex disorder.

"We have games and booths, with a lot of the booths having sensory activities, since some of the people here have sensory issues with light and touch," co-organizer Allison Westerfield said. "We wanted to have this in April because this is Autism Awareness Month."

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) displays a variety of characteristics that can cause social, communication and behavioral issues. Approximately 1 percent of the world's population is believed to have autism spectrum disorders.

The incidents of autism continue to grow. Statistics from autismspeaks.org indicate that one of 68 children is affected by this developmental disorder, with 42 of those 68 being males - resulting in boys being five times more prone to develop autism than girls.

The medical aspects of this disorder is just as alarming. The costs for treatment is now estimated at $60,000 per year.

Advocates for autism disorders continue to pledge their time and efforts to bring more awareness by the general public. Autism has been grouped into two specific areas, according to information on the Child Mind Institute website. Social communication and social interaction areas include avoidance of affectionate behavior and preferring solitude. Children under age 3 often do not respond to their names and seem uninterested in giving or sharing while older children often display limited understanding of social relationships. Speech development is also slower than the norm, or is done with a 'sing song' method or odd speech patterns. Limited eye contact, reciting without applying knowledge and dominating conversations without understanding is another part of this disorder.

The second grouping of characteristics of Autism is restrictive or repetitive behaviors that include repeating motions and fixating on minor details. Changes in routine are also an upsetting issue for those with autism tendencies, as is putting toys in order rather than playing with them and obsession with a certain object or topic.

Light, sounds, textures and smells are also sensory issues demonstrated by those with autism.

Occupational, physical and speech-language therapy are used to treat autism, although the website states that no medication has been developed to treat this disorder.

To learn more about autism, its symptoms and treatment, visit www.autismspeaks.org.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

 
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