The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s in order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism; it is a special opportunity to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.
Know the signs: Early identification can change lives
Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html.
Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
According to the society’s website, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a ‘spectrum disorder’ that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.”
KHS offers several pieces of equipment to make the challenges of serving an autistic individual easier. Among them are the EZ Rider Stroller, the Traveller Plus Car Seat, and the Activity Chair. A variety of helmets is also available.
The EZ Rider Stroller is a lightweight and fully-functional positioning chair that folds with the convenience of a simple umbrella stroller. Simple adjustments to the EZ Rider allow you to extend the life of the chair; there is no need for expensive growth kits.
The Traveller Plus Car Seat, accommodating children weighing up to 105 lbs., has a padded headrest, 5-point harness, single pull strap adjustment, recline bar, and optional seat extension.
The Activity Chair, designed by therapists, is the ultimate in active seating for pediatric to adult clients. It is versatile, durable and has a wide range of optional accessories available. Tool-free adjustments, while the client is in the Activity Chair, allow the caregiver, therapist or teacher to create customized active seating appropriate to the setting, all the wile recognizing the unique needs and challenges for each individual.
Some children with autism or with attention or sensory-related disorders have found that the stimulation provided through movement helps them to remain in place, focused and attentive during activities. The Activity Chair has a unique feature with optional springs that allow the backrest to “give” with extension pressure and/or the seat to “rock” depending on the settings. The design can withstand repeated stress on the frame, and the result is a sturdy, heavier chair that will not move along the floor with the child’s movement.
KHS encourages all to join the Autism Society in getting involved with your local Autism Society chapter and contacting state and federal representatives to take action. Together we can improve the lives of all affected by autism.