Written by Lisa Goring Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
Each year in April, millions of people around the world participate in Autism Speaks’ global Light It Up Blue campaign during Autism Awareness Month. It is a time to recognize and shine a bright light on those affected by autism, and to promote their contributions to our families, communities and society at large.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of complex disorders of brain development. These developmental disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism currently affects one in 88 children, and for many it is a lifelong disorder.
Beyond awareness, it is important as a society to familiarize ourselves with autism and its symptoms so that children and adults on the autism spectrum can feel understood and accepted in today’s world.
For many, autism is an invisible disability; unlike a person who walks with leg braces or crutches, for instance, people with ASD are not easily identified by their appearance or upon a brief first impression. Therefore, it is easy for some to pass negative judgment when they encounter someone who does not seem to respond to a request, has difficulty reading facial expressions and other social cues, or may express intense interest that focus repetitively on a single activity or an unusual object. This, coupled with a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste or touch, can make the world a very challenging place at times and may result in distressed or unusual behaviors.
At the same time, it is very important to note that people with autism also have strengths and skills that may go unseen as well. These often include strong long-term memories, skills in art, music, math or science, an exact adherence to rules and routines and the inclination to be precise and honest. The emphasis needs to be on the abilities of people with autism, not their disabilities.
A vital focus of Light It Up Blue and Autism Awareness Month is placed on highlighting the wonderful success stories of so many people with ASD who have overcome many significant challenges in their lives to become fully integrated and contributing members of their communities.
People with autism want to be accepted and included. They want to be a part of our schools, neighborhoods, recreational activities, workplaces and communities. For those with ASD to truly be included and valued, they need to be accepted; accepted for their strengths as well as their challenges. That may mean being a little more patient if it takes a little longer to do something, or if a person doesn’t answer right away or relies on a device to communicate.
People with autism have a lot to say and a lot to contribute to our community—it may just be in a slightly different way. With one in 88 being diagnosed with autism, it’s not enough to just have one month of awareness. Rather, what is needed is a community of support and acceptance year-round; a community that acknowledges everyone’s differences and challenges, and a community that works together to support everyone, making for a richer and more inclusive environment for us all.
Area resident Lisa Goring is Vice President, Family Services, at Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org.
Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:00
There was a time when people knew what they were eating. Frozen meals, fast food chains and ingredients impossible to pronounce were non-existent. Instead, simple ingredients and meals were all made from scratch.
Joann P. Magri, owner of The Divine Olive, is keeping this way of eating alive. Offering hungry customers with a choice in quality foods and ingredients, Magri encourages customers to make their own meals. With shelves stocked full of 18-year-old vinegars straight from Modena, Italy, to extra virgin olive oils infused with various herbs and flavors, the Divine Olive features a variety of organic and vegan products, all 100 percent natural. It even has handmade spaghetti and fresh bread, which perfectly pairs with all of their other products.
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
It’s a cute little ‘bug.’ What it represents, however, is anything but cute.
An unusual-looking Volkswagen is toodling around Long Island this month. Painted to resemble the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), the VW Beetle is part of efforts by the US Department of Agriculture to eliminate the pest, which can destroy 70 percent of an area’s tree canopy, according to the agency. Initially, officials held hope for complete eradication from about 23 square miles of LI designated as infested or at risk by 2016. Instead, this “landcape-altering pest” is spreading.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
It will be difficult to top the exhilaration of being crowned Nassau County Champs, but the 2014 Farmingdale Dalers will begin their defense of the title on Sept. 13 at rival Massapequa—whom they beat to claim the crown.
“The attitude is that we have to prove it again,” said Head Coach Buddy Krumenacker, who has been at the helm since 1993. “But I think we’ll be okay,” he added.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
Register now as classes fill up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on the chance to join in trapeze workshops at Eisenhower Park’s I.FLY this fall.
“I.FLY was designed to give kids and adults the ability to fulfill their dreams of being in the circus,” says instructor Anthony Rosamilia. “Flying through the air never gets boring. At I.FLY, we help people create lifelong memories.”