Sunday, June 22 marks the 7th Annual Autism Awareness Day at Lake Compounce, and The Greater Hartford Community of Autism Speaks could not be happier. The park staff is trained and the families are ready.
The day is intended to not only bring families of Autism together, but to also bring awareness to all guests within the park. The first 500 cars will receive a goodie bag with general information about Autism, as well news about how the New England chapter of Autism Speaks is making a positive difference in the community at large. Donations will be accepted at the registers, and the proceeds the Golf Game will also be donated. In addition, Autism Speaks representatives will be stationed throughout the park talking to families and answering questions.
"This is the perfect opportunity for all guests to learn about Autism and broaden their understanding of how to interact with peers on the spectrum," says Lauren Amendola of Autism Speaks. "With the prevalence of Autism in the community, a greater awareness and acceptance can only help everyone."
When asked why families with Autism like to come to Lake Compounce, Amendola says, "They know they are in a place where there is a great deal of support, awareness and acceptance, and not just on Autism Awareness Day but every day, and they like that, it makes them feel comfortable."
The staff at Lake Compounce annually receives Autism awareness training, which teaches them about the many challenges faced by families with Autistic children. Joline, a park lifeguard says, "I now can identify when a family might be struggling in a situation with their child, and I do my best to offer them assistance and let them know they're not alone".
"Sometimes an Autistic child may act out while waiting in a line or simply behave in a way that does not make sense to an onlooker, but because our staff has learned about some of these behaviors, they are better prepared to deal with the situation in a helpful manner, which puts the family at ease and also sets a positive example for other guests as well," says Jerry Brick, General Manager.
Volunteers from Autism Speaks will be in attendance from 11:00 A.M. –
8:00 P.M. to answer questions about early detection and provide support for families who have children with autism who may be visiting the park that day. Families with individuals with autism can obtain a discount to the park for the day, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Autism Speaks is tremendously grateful to Lake Compounce for their continued support of the autism community and our mission," says Lauren Amendola, CT Director of Autism Speaks. "We’re pleased to partner with the park once again to spread awareness through their annual Autism Awareness Day, and we’re proud that Lake Compounce has been a leader in its industry for employing those on the spectrum and with disabilities; a huge need across the country."
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
To learn more about autism, Autism Speaks and how you can help, visit http://www.autismspeaks.org