Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 15
Advocates for Autism
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
According to Autism Speaks, more children this year will be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined. Unfortunately, the specific cause of autism remains a mystery that scientists and doctors are trying to solve.
With one in 88 children diagnosed with autism, Easter Seals of the Tri-Counties continues to provide services to autistic children and their families.
A nonprofit organization that’s spent the last 50 years working with special-needs children, Easter Seals is trying to spread the word about its Autism Therapy program, and what the community can do to help.
Jill Reder, director of behavioral services for Easter Seals, said that a $1,000 contribution would be enough to fund the co-pay services for one year of Autism Therapy for an autistic child. Reder added that any amount of contribution is appreciated.
Using a form of therapy known as Applied Behavior Analysis, the Easter Seals program teaches autistic children how to communicate and helps parents decipher what it is their child is trying to tell them. Reder said the program involves a lot of interaction between the parents and child, both at home and in the community.
Reder said the primary goal of Autism Therapy is to help correct behaviors that interfere with these children interacting in the community. The program also offers support groups for parents and siblings of autistic children, and also teaches parents strategies for raising a child with special needs.
Though Reder was initially skeptical of behavioral analysis, she said it’s mind-blowing to see how it works.
“We were able to get an autistic 6 year old out of diapers in just one month,” Reder said. “You see the changes, a happier family. It has a spiral effect.”
According to Easter Seals, the United States surgeon general and pediatric research groups have endorsed the ABA therapy program as a scientifically proven treatment for autistic children.
The program currently serves about 30 families and will soon be holding community events and play dates open to everyone.
To find out more about Easter Seals of the Tri-Counties and its Autism Therapy program, visit eastersealstc.org.
Staff Writer Kristina Sewell compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send items for consideration to the Sun via e-mail, fax, or mail.