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April is Autism Awareness Month under Massachusetts General law.  The prevalence of Autism today in the United States is one in every 68 children, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That is more than double the prevalence in 2002, of one in every 150 children. April is dedicated to raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is estimated to be the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States by both CDC and Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM).

People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. The term “spectrum” refers to the varying degree of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that individuals with ASD may experience. ASD is 4.5 times more common among males than females, but anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender can have ASD.

Awareness and education around ASD is an important step to ensuring that individuals with ASD receive a diagnosis and appropriate supports. ASD is diagnosed through a developmental and behavioral examination.

The CDC reports that children identified with ASD are not receiving comprehensive developmental evaluations as early as they could. Autism Awareness Month is an opportunity to help change this reality. Earlier diagnosis, attention, support, and public education can make a positive difference for individuals with ASD.

Please share this post to help promote greater acceptance, awareness, and understanding of ASD.

Resources available to children and families in Massachusetts include:

  • Family TIES of Massachusetts (Together In Enhancing Support) is a statewide information, referral, and parent support network for families of children with disabilities. Contact Massachusetts Family TIES at 800-905-TIES (8437) or 617-624-5992 (TTY).
  • Public Health Supports and Services- Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) offers programs and services to children with special needs and their families. Callers may reach the DPH Community Support Line at 800-882-1435 (in MA only), 617-624-6060 or 617-624-5992 (TTY).

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