In celebration of April’s Autism Awareness Month, students in each of Johnston’s schools brought attention to the cause last Friday through their Autism Awareness Day. Students, faculty and staff dressed in signature puzzle pieces attire, which represented the signature symbol for autism, to celebrate the day, and raised funds to help support autism education, awareness, and research.
Nearly 25 years ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination, and assure that those with autism are provided the opportunity to achieve.
According to the society’s website, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability, with signs that typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Associated behaviors include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation, narrow, intense interests and poor motor skills, amongst others.
While there is no known single cause of autism, increased awareness and early diagnosis and intervention, along with access to appropriate supports leads to significantly improved outcomes.
Students at Brown Avenue School, for example, rallied behind their student council efforts to raise awareness by collecting $300 for the cause. Likewise, students at Barnes elementary raised $161 with their outstanding efforts.