For the seventh year in a row, staff members of Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Center For Youth and Families are highlighting Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) awareness during the month of April to help spread the word about their Connections Autism Outpatient Program. The program focuses on supporting children and families impacted by autism to help them gain skills, improve overall functioning, and participate successfully in their communities.
The campaign, called “Light it up In Blue”, is celebrated internationally 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. The CHH Connections Program serves children and families affected by ASD through diagnostic assessment, treatment, and advocacy services. It offers individual, group, family therapy, and psychiatric consultation, and features specialized social skills groups and behavioral therapy with the child and caregivers.
Autism Spectrum Disorder 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 1,000 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 United States 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.
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
Torrington based CHH 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.