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As many of you may know April is Autism Awareness month. As noted on the Autism society’s website: “Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.”

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a general term that is applied to a group of complex disorders of brain development. The CDC identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum. It affects more than 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. You can read more about autism here.

I first became aware of Autism 11 years ago when my daughter began her pre-school education. There were a few students in her class with varying degrees of ASD. Over the course of pre-school, elementary, and middle school years I’ve seen how the integration of autistic students resulted in a supportive, caring, and positive environment for all students. Most recently I’ve worked with children, with varying degrees of ASD, through community sports programs. While many of us are aware of Autism, or are familiar with the colorful Autism Awareness puzzle piece logo and ribbon, we may not know how easy it is to support the research needed to make further advances in understanding the condition.

So today I am asking everyone in the digital space to take a few minutes out of their day and go to Google, or your favorite search engine, and check out the local Autism awareness events in your city or town. Over the course of this month there are many local events and online activities set up to raise awareness and funds to help those diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder as well as those who will be diagnosed each year. Please consider participating in one or even a few events to help a great cause. For those of you in the Philadelphia area, here is a list of events: http://www.asaphilly.org/events.php.

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.

-Coach Elaine Hall

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