Dear Family and Friends,
Currently 1 in 68 children are identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) this number is currently on the rise due to advances in early diagnosis and through spreading awareness.
In 2017 Emma was Diagnosed as having Moderate to severe Autism marked by a lack in social communication and by repetitive behaviours, with the help of Occupational therapy, Speech therapy, ABA therapy and parent training Emma has gone from playing in a corner alone and being completely non-verbal, to knowing her ABC's, counting 1-20, knowing basic shapes and colours. Emma went from not making eye contact or responding to her name to making brief eyecontact, smiling at close friends and family and directing people in non-verbal ways to what she needs. Emma and Children like Emma have their strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else, it is our job to educate ourselves and others about the truth behind autism. I see beauty and freedom when I look at Emma, the ability to be who you are and act as you please without caring about what others think.
There are many misunderstandings about autism such as:
-People with autism don’t want friends. (People with autism most certainly want friends and love to interact with others but most often do not have the social skills to make the right connections with their peers)
-People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion—happy or sad.(People with autism are able to express emotions they just express them in different ways and we need to learn how to understand them)
-People with autism can’t understand the emotions of others.(Autism often affects an individual’s ability to understand unspoken interpersonal communication, so someone with autism might not detect sadness based solely on one’s body language or sarcasm in one’s tone of voice. But, when emotions are communicated more directly, people with autism are much more likely to feel empathy and compassion for others.)
-People with autism are intellectually disabled.(Most people with Autism have average to above average IQ)
-Autism is just a brain disorder. (Research has shown that many people with autism also have gastro-intestinal disorders, food sensitivities, and many allergies.)
-Autism is caused by bad parenting. (In the 1950s, a theory called the “refrigerator mother hypothesis” arose suggesting that autism was caused by mothers who lacked emotional warmth. This has long been disproved.)
-Therapies for people with autism are covered by insurance. (Most insurance companies exclude autism from the coverage plan. For ABA therapy alone it can cost a family 45-55 dollars per hour with most children requiring 20-40 hours of therapy per week)
Our Team knows from personal experience how prevalent these myths are in the media and through day to day interactions with others. We walk to spread awareness about what Autism is and to help families like our own access programs and supports.