Autism Awareness Month aims to provide education and understanding

1 year 4 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, March 24 2016 Mar 24, 2016 Thursday, March 24, 2016 6:15:00 AM CDT March 24, 2016 in News
By: Laura Barczewski, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – Autism Awarness Month is just around the corner and April 2 will mark the eighth year of World Autism Awareness Day.

The MU Thompson Center is partnering with Autism Speaks to hold an event called "Light it Up Blue" on Faurot Field that day.

Autism Awareness goes beyond one day, the whole month of April is recognized as Autism Awareness Month.

“It’s because of Autism Awareness Month and all the focus and energy we put into it, that Autism has become a part of the common vocabulary,” Dr. Stephen Kanne, Executive Director of the MU Thompson Center said.

Kanne said there are two areas a person with Autism will often struggle with - one is the ability to communicate socially and two, the way they respond to their environment.

According to a news release, if parents notice red flags, it is important to see a pediatrician as soon as possible. 

Here are a few examples of red flags from Dr. Kanne:

  • No big smiles or joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
  • Not turning to their name when called

"The earlier we can get kids into services and the earlier we can start the righ types of treatment with the kids and get them properly diagnosed, the better their chances for being able to have the most optimal functioning for the rest of their lives," Dr. Kanne said. 

Middle schoolers and high schoolers are invited to participate in a video contest. The winning video will be played during the Light it Up Blue event.

For more information on the event and how to submit a video entry see this page on the MU Thompson Center website.

 

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