Awareness for America's Fastest Growing Disorder, Autism - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Awareness for America's Fastest Growing Disorder, Autism

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Autism diagnoses have sharply increased in the past decade, with the most recent studies showing that 1/68 children are diagnosed with the disorder.

Despite its prevalence, there are still many misconceptions about the disorder.

Isaiah Arvin, 11, of Belle Valley, is a happy, active kid who has Autism, and happens to be mostly non-verbal.

"It's important to remember, when you know one person with Autism, you know one person with Autism. There are no two people in all my years working where two people are the same with Autism," said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, vice president of the Barber National Institute.

For example, Isaiah makes eye contact, loves hugs, and interacts with people, but uses a device to communicate.

"He's a very happy kid. Every once in a while he's got his little moments. Before we came here he was a little out of sorts but played with his string and got himself back together so we can get his ice skating done," said dad, Ishan Arvin.

Isaiah attends class with kids who share his same spectrum of Autism and joined in on an ice skating program that one of his teacher's aids runs.

While widespread programs to help children exist, now many of those kids are grown up. And most communities lack the support services those adults need.

"There's a tsunami of children turning into adults with Autism. And there's very, very limited resources out there." said Barber-Carey. "What I would like to ask our community is, let's take up the challenge. If you're an employer, consider hiring someone with Autism. We have an employment office and we'll help you find the right person for your job," she said.

It's through actively raising awareness that people can better understand the disorder, and come to accept and integrate those with Autism in the community.

On April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, people around world wore blue to show their support, and landmarks worldwide lit up with blue lights, including Erie's Bicentennial Tower.   

The entire month of April is national Autism Awareness month.

The Barber National Institute is hosting its seventh annual art show and sale from April 11-14th to help raise funds.

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