Friday, April 1, 2011

Why My Porch Light is Blue

In honor of National Autism Awareness month, I wanted to share this information with you from a friend of mine:

My name is Trisha Hunter and I am honored to be a guest on my friend Stacie’s blog. As parents, you have the most challenging and rewarding job on earth. I am a Developmental Therapist with my state’s early intervention program. In other words, I work with families whose children are ages birth to three and have been identified as developmentally delayed. Every day I am blessed to work with families by teaching them how to help their children reach developmental milestones. I also have experience as an autism therapist.

The vast majority of the kids I work with do not have any kind of medical diagnosis. Usually they are labeled as having a delay and often never receive a formal clinical diagnosis. Sometimes parents or family members want to believe a child is not talking because they are choosing not to talk, too stubborn, or that they will start speaking in sentences any day now even though they are using little or no words as toddlers. These children may have behavioral problems. Behavior issues are not the reason they aren’t talking, but may be present as a result of the child’s frustration with their inability to communicate.

Please understand that most children who have a speech delay are not on the autism spectrum. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to be concerned. What we do know as professionals is that early intervention is key to all children who are at risk. The latest autism research tells us that early social skills such as making eye contact, learning to play simple games such as peek-a-boo, and other social interactions are building blocks in learning to communicate. The earlier a child receives intervention, the greater chance to make a long term difference in their development.

The 4th Annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2011. More than 500 buildings in 120 U.S. cities and 25 countries will shine a blue light to kick off Autism Awareness Month. Autism awareness needs to happen every day, all year long. We need parents to take the initiative and watch for early signs. If you are a parent or know someone who is, please read the following link and pass it along. You could be the difference in a child’s lifelong development.

Autism Signs and Symptoms

Find more information on the Light It Up Blue campaign.



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