SAVANNAH, Ga. – April is recognized as Autism Awareness Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children in the United States have autism. Nationwide, approximately two million children and adults have autism.
While there is no exact cause of cure for autism spectrum disorder, School Director for the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Jack O’Connor says early intervention for babies can be key for long and short term progress.
“Don’t kinda let that ‘wait and see’ approach where, ‘Let’s wait six months or a year and hope the child catches up.’ That could actually add more harm than good. And that’s six months to a year of therapies and interventions that your child isn’t receiving,” O’Connor said.
MRCA provides education, resources, advocacy and support for children and families with ASD.
O’Connor also stressed the importance for employers to be intentional about hiring people who have autism or other disabilities.
According to the National Institute of Health, 40 percent of people with autism are without work. O’Connor says while each person with autism does have a unique experience, employers shouldn’t be wary of hiring people with autism.
“Not to focus so much on what they can’t do, but really what their strengths are and sometimes kind of carving out a particular job or a particular niche for an individual and how they can help their company to be successful,” O’ Connor said.
Families, children and adults with autism can seek help from their local doctors and specialists along with the resources below:
- American Autism Association
- Matthew Reardon Center for Autism
- Kicklighter Academy
- Chicago Autism and Behavior Specialists
- Easter Seals Southern Georgia, Inc.
- Lowcountry Autism Foundation
- Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs