Studies show Autism Spectrum Disorder is increasing among children
April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time to embrace the inclusion of individuals diagnosed with autism in all facets of life — from education to the workplace to family interactions. The nonprofit Judson Center is a trusted leader in autism services in Michigan, and the agency encourages everyone to celebrate the abilities and differences of children and adults with autism.
“Our goal here at Judson Center is to go beyond raising awareness of autism by promoting acceptance of those with autism,” said Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster. “We welcome and support their diversity, strength, contributions and value. It’s natural for human beings to want to be accepted for who they are, and it is especially important for children to feel comfortable to be themselves as they grow and develop.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological disorder that impacts the development of social and communication skills, sensory regulation, and behaviors. The latest studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 1 in 36 children have ASD. That’s up from 1 in 44 children in 2018. Boys are nearly four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
“Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in this country, and it is important that families receive an early diagnosis and treatment,” said Judson Center Chief Operating Officer Susan Salhaney. “Experts believe one of the reasons for the increase in the prevalence of autism is better awareness and screening. Each individual who receives an ASD diagnosis is unique, and our trained and certified autism professionals create treatment plans that are just as unique for each person.”
Judson Center’s Autism Connections program offers a comprehensive continuum of care for families, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, diagnostic evaluations, parent training, social skills groups, and speech and occupational therapy. Services are available at sites in Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Warren, and Flint.
“When we choose to see autism as something to be embraced and not something to be eradicated, we are able to better equip individuals with autism to communicate their needs and connect with the world in a new way,” said Judson Center’s Director of Autism Connections Sarah Sorise. “This approach promotes dignity, fosters inclusion and helps us walk beside our clients and their families into a future where they can thrive as their full selves.”