LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Every year, Autism Awareness is celebrated in April, but with 1 in 59 children diagnosed on the spectrum today, the awareness effort has turned into more of a year-long campaign for acceptance.
Sherry Sancibrian is an Associate Chair in the Texas Tech School of Health Professions and also director of the South Plains Autism Network. She says, “There’s a big neurodiversity movement that has kind of pushed the idea that maybe we should not keep talking about autism spectrum disorder as a disorder, but as a brain difference. We all have different brains, right?”
Sherry says there are many people on the spectrum who attend college and become successful in the work force but that may be of little comfort to the new parent, wondering if their child is on the spectrum. She explains that doctors screen autism at 18 and 24 months but there are still clues parents can watch for to identify a child who may be on the spectrum. Watch to see if a child turns to you when you call their name. Is your toddler pointing to direct your attention to something? Is your child trying to say words by age two? If you are concerned, you should always talk to your pediatrician. Sherry says it’s important to be careful about what you read on the internet.
There is no product that can promise a cure to preventing or healing autism. However, there is a wonderful resource for parents here in Lubbock on the Texas Tech campus. The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is located at 2902 18th street.
That’s where they are organizing the annual Awareness Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 24th.
However, this year it will be different. She says, “So they want to invite everybody to come by between one and three on Saturday to pick up their materials. They have T shirts, they have games for kids. There’s music, a chance to have a picture made.” All that is available on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, you are asked to walk on your own, anywhere you want. Be sure to wear your t-shirt to show your support for autism acceptance.