Farmington Hills, MI – Traditionally, April has been designated as National Autism Awareness Month. However, several disability organizations across the country are now recognizing the observance as Autism Acceptance Month to better reflect inclusion and connection. Judson Center, a trusted leader in autism services in Michigan, is emphasizing autism acceptance in its April campaign, Bring Autism to Light.
“Acceptance embraces the notion that individuals with autism are able to lead full lives today in all areas from education to the workplace to family life,” said Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster. “Of course, awareness of the disorder is still very important. However, Autism Acceptance Month emphasizes a time to celebrate differences and promote inclusion and support for people with autism, along with recognition of the contributions and value they bring to our communities.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological disorder that impacts the development of social skills, communication skills, sensory regulation, and behaviors. 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.
One of the most visible signs of Judson Center’s Bring Autism to Light initiative is at the agency’s Royal Oak campus at 13 Mile and Greenfield roads. The location will be awash in bright blue lights from dusk to dawn throughout April, thanks to the generosity of English Gardens. The garden center and landscaping company has installed the lighting free of charge to Judson Center for the past six years. Michigan residents are also encouraged to change their porch lights to blue this month.
Additionally, the cities of Royal Oak, Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills and Warren have issued proclamations acknowledging April as National Autism Acceptance Month and encouraging early treatment so that individuals can begin to lead significantly improved lives.
“Each person with an ASD diagnosis is unique,” said Judson Center Chief Operating Officer Susan Salhaney. “Judson Center has services that can support a person’s individual needs from childhood through adulthood so they can reach their potential, living independent, successful lives.”
The latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show 1 in 44 children have ASD. And, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, boys are four to five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
“Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in this country, so it is very important that families receive an early diagnosis,” said Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski, Judson Center’s director of autism and disability services. “Children as young as 18 months can be diagnosed with ASD, but the average age is around 4-years-old. Since mandated insurance coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis, children and youth are making great progress, but the earlier we can start treatment the better the opportunity to bring positive changes to their quality of life.”
For more information on Judson Center’s Autism Connections program, call 866-5-JUDSON or visit www.judsoncenter.org.
About Judson Center
Judson Center, trusted by Michigan families for more than 98 years, is a non-profit human services agency providing expert, comprehensive services that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, and developmental, behavioral and physical health challenges so they can achieve whole health, well-being, and maximum potential. Judson Center also offers integrated primary healthcare for all through Judson Center Health in Warren and is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of nearly 12,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 30301 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3277. Learn more at www.judsoncenter.org.
# # #