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OUR VIEW: Autism Awareness Month

Date April 5, 2016

Temple Grandin once said, “Autism is part of who I am.”

An internationally known spokeswoman on autism, she is a prominent example of how autism did not get in the way of her successes in life.

Grandin has a doctoral degree in animal science and, according to her business page, is a world leader in the design of livestock handling facilities.

So it would make sense that an award has been named after her. Future Horizons Inc., an organization that provides autism and sensory resources, bestows this award annually.

This award is a grand achievement, but it’s the day-to-day accomplishments that should be celebrated.

Helping with this are organizations like Coarc, The Autism Connection of Greene County and the Anderson Center for Autism.

“Services are few and far between. There needs to be more services for children on the spectrum,” Autism Connection of Greene County Board President Anna Papadaski said. She is also director of children with special needs for Columbia County.

The organization opened a summer camp in 2008 because children on the spectrum had no interaction in the summer, she said, adding that middle-schoolers and high-schoolers on the spectrum meet Friday nights at the Coxsackie Elementary School.

Coarc’s preschool day care, the Starting Place, provides an enriching learning environment for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Coarc also offers services and programs for adults with autism.

Autism Awareness Month is a time to celebrate and inform. The Autism Connection of Greene County will hold a dance “fun”raiser from 7-10 p.m. April 15 at the Quarry Steakhouse in Climax for grades seven through 12 and its eighth annual autism awareness walk 11 a.m. April 17 in Coxsackie.

Coarc will offer a parent and caregiver support group for families affected by developmental disabilities, including autism, 5:15-6:45 p.m. April 19 at 65 Prospect Ave., Hudson.

One in 68 individuals is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We’re grateful for the organizations that can help one — and so many others.