Inclusion: “The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized” (Oxford, 2021) Why Inclusion Matters: Inclusion matters when it comes to our entire community but particularly when it comes to teaching children. Not only will you be modeling an honor for diversity, but your children will also be exposed to children who may look and engage with the world a little differently. Your child will learn and grow in ways such as: (1) creativity will be enhanced as a result of seeing, hearing, and experiencing different ways to accomplish goals teaching your child to solve problems creatively, (2) your child will get the amazing opportunity to learn to be a helper, support, and friend to a peer who may have different abilities, and (3) you and your family will have a role in making our community a better, kinder, and more inclusive space where others feel honored and safe. Want more information? Go to Autism Speaks or https://youtu.be/AfRj4ubpkws
What is Autism? The Spectrum: Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning that if you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with autism. Every individual on the Autism spectrum is different with varying abilities, strengths, and opportunities for improvement- just like you and I. Common Characteristics: Although every person with Autism has varying abilities, there are several core characteristics that might be present. To be diagnosed with Autism, a person must have deficits in social communication/interaction and
restrictive/repetitive behaviors. These characteristics show up differently for every individual with Autism. In fact, symptoms must be present in the early developmental period, but may become more pronounced when social demands over time. In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with Autism. Notably, with support and evidence-based interventions, characteristics of Autism can become less pronounced over time.
The Cure for Autism: There is not a cure for Autism. Important Note: However, with interventions that start at a young age such as Applied Behavior Analysis, there is a tremendous result of highly improved outcomes. There is not a limit on how much learning, growth, or knowledge can be gained because of best practice interventions at an early age and throughout the life span. The United States Surgeon General (1999) concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior”.