April is Autism Awareness Month

BY  |  Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 6:15am

According to the Autism Society, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.” In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention issued an autism prevalence report showing that autism had risen to 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. The numbers are higher in New Jersey, with 1 in 94 children in New Jersey has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Speaks, the biggest autism science and advocacy organization in the world, marks its fourth annual celebration of World Autism Awareness Day today, April 2. This is a worldwide effort to raise awareness about a disorder which affects millions of individuals and families with a series of events and initiatives. Check out the event’s page on Facebook.

Many prominent buildings will highlight the day, too, by Lighting up in blue, including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

Right in Baristaville, people are raising awareness too:

  • WORDS Bookstore in Maplewood will  put on blue lights and wear blue shirts for Autism Awareness. Owners Ellen and Jonah Zimiles will donate a percentage of sales during their Light it up Blue hours to Autism Speaks. Throughout the month of April, they will host authors of books dealing with the subject.
  • Staff at Tuscan Elementary School in Maplewood wore  blue “light it up blue” ribbons they received in exchange for a $5 donation to Autism Speaks yesterday, April 1.
  • Bloomfield Public Library will have Joliza Laroco, Autism Awareness Ambassador for Autism New Jersey, who will be presenting information and awareness on the bookcase located beside the Circulation Desk throughout the month of April.
  • Maplewood Memorial Library was given Autism Speaks tool-kits for families with recently diagnosed or adolescent children on the spectrum. You can reserve your copies here by doing a title search for AUTISM SPEAKS.
  • AMC Theatres offers its Sensory-friendly film screening of Hop today at 10 am. Check here for participating theaters.
  • StudioKids in Montclair is offering Art Bridges, a new program for the special student who needs extra time to work on projects in a nurturing and artistic environment.  By creating an Art Individual Education Program, students meet once a week for a 2 hour studio session and work on a project that is created especially for them. Art Bridges begins on April 6.
  • Caldwell College will hold its annual 5K Race For Autism run on Saturday, April 16. Funds raised will go to  Caldwell College’s on-campus Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. This state-of-the art facility allows Caldwell College to serve the needs of hundreds of individuals with autism and help them and their families to lead more satisfying and productive lives.
  • Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story,” a film by Erik Linthorst will air today, April 2, on PBS WLIW21. It’s an intimate family portrait following one dad’s determined search to find the right treatments, the right doctors, even the right words to describe his “autistic-like” son.
  • Meetup offers an Essex County Parents For Autism Group. Next meetup is on Saturday, April 9 in South Orange. Click here for details.

Throughout the Month of April, Barista Kids will do our part to raise awareness of autism, by featuring stories from people who have loved ones or students on the spectrum. Have a story to share? Email us here.

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Featured Comment

And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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