Autism Awareness Growing on Rosebud
By Vi Waln
ROSEBUD, SD – Elementary students were accompanied by their family members and school staff on a walk to bring awareness to autism on the Rosebud Reservation.
Everyone who participated in the 5th Annual Autism Awareness Walk received a blue t-shirt, as well as an Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon to wear. This walk was just one of the events organized by Shelley Means, mother of twin boys who are affected by autism. Another awareness walk is scheduled for April 30 at 4pm in Mission, SD.
Other activities included a balloon launch at Rosebud Elementary on April 1. Several families also attended an Autism Family Night, which included a Resource Fair, on April 9. The Crazy Horse Monument in the Black Hills supported the Light it Up Blue awareness promotion on April 2 by featuring blue lights on the monument.
April is designated as National Autism Awareness Month. President Barack Obama issued a Proclamation declaring April 2, 2015 as World Autism Awareness Day. He encouraged citizens to learn more about autism and what we can do to support individuals and their families on the autism spectrum.
“Today, let us honor advocates, professionals, family members, and all who work to build brighter tomorrows alongside those with autism,” declared the President. “Together, we can create a world free of barriers to inclusion and full of understanding and acceptance of the differences that make us strong.”
Autism affects 1 in every 68 children throughout the world. Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism. Recent figures estimate that 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
If you suspect that your child is affected by autism, watch for these symptoms:
• No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter.
• No back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months.
• No babbling by 12 months.
• No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
• No words by 16 months.
• No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months.
• Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Last week’s walk was sponsored by the SD Council on Developmental Disabilities, Lakota Tiwahe Center, Todd County School District, Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative, Sicangu Oyate Land Office, All Stop, Rosebud Rentals, Tax Express, Cherry-Todd Electric Cooperative and Sinte Gleska University.
More information, including an online Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-RTM), can be viewed at http://www.autismspeaks.org