Light it up Blue for Autism to be held April 2

By Chris Cooper - [email protected]

Last year’s event drew a large crowd.

April 2 is World Autism Day and the annual Light it up Blue for Autism will once again be held to show support to those families who face autism, as well as bring about awareness to a growing concern.

This is the third year for the event which is organized by April Haley and Melissa Campbell. The special event will be held at the Russellville City-County Park April 2, 2016, from 3-3:30 p.m. for everyone who wishes to show their support. A blue balloon release will occur at 3:30 p.m.

There will be inflatables for the kids and music will be provided by Clay Bilyeu. Photos will be taken by Deb Howard and there will be resource information from the Kelly Autism Program. Refreshments will be served and there will be door prizes.

“This event is fun for the whole family. Wear blue and come join the big event as Logan County celebrates individuals in our community living on the Autism Spectrum,” said Campbell.

The following are some statistics according to the Autism Society:

* About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder.

* Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births.

* More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.

* Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68).

* Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability.

* Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010.

According to the National Autistic Society Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

For more help

The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN) established a new Office of Autism in 2014.

The Office of Autism creates a centralized location to coordinate statewide and regional efforts to enhance the quality of life and independence to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and to support their families and caregivers.

The office improves coordination of autism resources within the system of care supporting both children and adults with autism and help make those resources available to families and self-advocates. The office provides administrative support to the Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders to unify and promote initiatives aimed at improving Kentucky’s system of care.

The CCSHCN has a long history of serving as a coordinator of services in the sometimes fragmented health care system to help ease the burden of chronic conditions for families and individuals. CCSHCN’s new autism office works to coordinate throughout the cabinet with others that currently provide services and supports to families and individuals coping with behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorders. These agencies include the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; Department for Medicaid Services; Department for Community Based Services; Department of Public Health; and Family Resource and Youth Service Centers. The CCSHN also coordinates with other state agencies, such as Kentucky Department for Education.

Amy Cooper-Puckett is the director for the office.

“Kentucky has an opportunity to integrate physical and behavioral health services for persons on the Autism Spectrum and it is my privilege to participate in this initiative as the Director for the Office of Autism,” said Cooper-Puckett.

For more information about the Office of Autism, please contact Amy Cooper-Puckett, LCSW, at 859-447-7792.

Last year’s event drew a large crowd. year’s event drew a large crowd.

By Chris Cooper

[email protected]

To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.

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