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Augusta Walk for Autism: Caring for our children

Parents of Autistic children can help their families by learning more about Autism. Autism, defined by the Autism Society of America, is "a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first 3 years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication”. The complex problem attached to autism is the broad spectrum the diagnosis may fall within. Every child diagnosed with this condition is affected so differently than another. The range of disabilities is so vast that some doctors are choosing to diagnose these children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) rather than say it is autism. It seems that as a society, we still do not know as much as we need to about this disorder and because there is not one well defined set of symptoms for a pediatrician or therapist to rely on proves more needs to be done for these children.

The truth is that children who are affected by autism have problems in three crucial areas of development which are social interaction, language, and behavior. The severity of the symptoms range and some children may go misdiagnosed for years. The most extreme cases include the inability to interact or communicate with other people. Milder or “high functioning” cases allow the children to communicate but not on the same maturity level of another equally developmentally aged child. Furthermore, symptoms are brought about in various situations and are different for every personality type.

Learning about this condition is overwhelming. The key for most parents is to try to find a range where their child fits the best and then find resources to aide in that specific area. Support is crucial. Parents can get burned out very quickly and begin to feel inadequate. Healthcare and interventions are also costly. Thankfully, Walk for Autism is a support group in Augusta raising funds now for ten years to help parents and families dealing with some form of autism. The next fundraiser event will be held April 24, 2010. Funds raised will be used to raise awareness in the Augusta area and help families get the support they need. If you are a parent of a child with autism or would like to join a worthy cause; Walk for Autism is a great way to give back.

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