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Autism Awareness Month: Nurturing greater understanding, compassion and support

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorder is becoming more prevalent among our nation’s youth.

The CDC, which releases a biennial update of the pervasiveness of autism, estimates that 1 in every 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a 15 percent increase from 1 in every 68 children just two years earlier. 

In honor of Autism Awareness Month in April, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health – a leading provider of autism services for children, adolescents and adults – wants to highlight the need for greater understanding, compassion and support to help individuals diagnosed with autism lead more independent, fulfilling and socially connected lives. 

“Individuals with autism offer a wonderful and different perspective on life. They have a true desire to be part of their communities, and we are here to provide those opportunities,” said Devereux Executive Director of Autism Services Todd Harris, Ph.D. “At Devereux, we are privileged to help and support individuals (living with autism) at every life stage, and it is our responsibility to help them share their unique gifts with the world.”  

What is autism spectrum disorder?

The CDC defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but is about four times more common among boys (1 in 37) than among girls (1 in 151). 

Diagnosing ASD can be challenging since there is no medical test for this condition. The CDC states that all children should be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular doctor visits beginning at nine months of age, and that all children should be screened specifically for ASD beginning at 18 months. The second step of diagnosis is a comprehensive evaluation that may include hearing and vision screening, genetic testing and neurological testing.

About Devereux’s autism services …

Devereux offers a wide variety of autism services and supports to meet the needs of each individual and assist them in developing the necessary skills to enhance their quality of life. The organization’s programs, which are offered through lifespan, utilize evidence-based strategies, such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Applied Behavior Analysis. Programs include: 

Children and adolescents

Transition-age young adults

Adults

“The goal of Devereux’s autism programs is to empower youth and adults to develop essential skills in areas such as practical living, personal care, personal safety, communication, self-regulation and self-advocacy,” said Harris. “Achieving these skills will enable individuals to successfully navigate new situations and lead more satisfying and independent lives.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s autism programs and services.

  

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