1 in 68 Children is Autistic. Photo: Zurijeta / iStock / Thinkstock. Use of photo is granted to The Salvation Army (the Licensee) through a subscription agreement. Downloading of licensed image is restricted other than for personal use, and prohibited from republication, retransmission or reproduction. Go to thinkstockphotos.com for full license information.

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autism_sidebarTen years ago, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affected five in 10,000 children. Today, one in 68 is identified as having ASD.

April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, highlights the need to help improve the quality of life of autistic children and adults so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

“As the parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, it is important for people to know that AS is a ‘hidden’ disability,” says Karen. “Although many people with AS appear perfectly normal, they may have some difficulties in communication, interaction, mobility and fine motor skills.  People with Asperger’s  generally have very high intelligence and are amazing with facts and figures.

“With love, support and acceptance, our son flourishes,” says Karen. “He volunteers, plays tuba in the church band and runs on the school cross country team. We couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Salvation Army Autism Supports

The Salvation Army believes that all people should have the opportunity to maximize their potential and lead fulfilling lives. From life-skills classes such as cooking and grocery shopping to volunteer training and job placements, programs such as STRIVE in Hamilton and Community Ventures in Winnipeg are giving help and hope to people with Autism.

“Community Ventures has been meeting Winnipeg residents’ special needs since 1986,” says Kim Park, Executive Director of the program. “Participants thrive with love, acceptance and development of individual skills.  We have people in our program who are at job placements, volunteering at food banks and thrift stores. The right level of support not only benefits the individual, but the workplace and community.”

Although tens of millions of people worldwide are on the autism spectrum, parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers and friends are also impacted in different ways. They are counting on us to be part of their network of help and understanding.

 

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