CYF Highlights April Autism Awareness Month

(TorCYFrington, CT)  For the sixth year in a row, staff members of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Center For Youth & Families are highlighting autism awareness during the month of April to help raise awareness and of spread the word about their “Connections Program” for children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Connections Program, at the Center for Youth and Families, serves children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders in our community through its current outpatient program which includes diagnostic assessment, treatment, and advocacy services. They provide individual, group, and family therapy.  The program features specialized social skills groups and behavioral therapy with the child and caregivers.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a general term used to describe a complex neuro-developmental brain disorder caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Today, it is estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum, a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. that is now reaching epidemic classification.  Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.

Early detection and treatment of autism are essential to good prognosis.  Recommended treatments include behavioral therapy, sensory integration, cognitive, speech, and social interventions. Individuals with Autism are also known to be exceptional or gifted in many ways.

The campaign, called “Light it up In Blue”, is celebrated by the international autism community, in commemoration of those with autism by wearing blue and lighting up iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores around the world.

An estimated 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism.  One reason for striking increase in children being diagnosed can be attributed to early detection screenings and awareness campaigns.  These initiatives have been funded by federal and state governments and agencies to improve public awareness and professional awareness about ASD and to nurture a statewide, culturally competent, family-centered system of care for all stakeholders who with children and adolescents with ASD.

Contact the center for more information on their “Connections” program at 860-489-3391.  For more information about autism, visit www.autismspeaks.org

The Center for Youth and Families has been an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance since that provides an array of professional mental health services that assist children, adolescents and their families with emotional, behavioral, and developmental difficulties. The northeast Center’s approach is wide-ranging, beginning with a thorough and sensitive evaluation of the “whole” child in the context of the family, school and the community. To further this understanding, the Center Staff work closely with schools, guidance counselors, local area pediatricians and other community providers.

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109 bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One Thousand Caregivers, One Job, Your Health. Visit www.charlottehungertford.org for information.

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