BUCKHANNON — Commissioners approved a proclamation to declare April 2022 as Autism Awareness Month at the Upshur County Commission meeting on Thursday, March 24.
Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace read the proclamation aloud to the commissioners and those in attendance.
“Whereas, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior and whereas, Autism is an urgent public health crisis that demands support from all levels of government and whereas symptoms of Autism may present themselves in a variety of combinations and can result in significant and lifelong impairment of an individual’s ability to learn, develop healthy interactive behaviors and understand non-verbal communication and whereas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in forty-four school age children have been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder and whereas, West Virginia is committed to ensuring people living with Autism have access to life-long care and services needed to pursue their full potential and happiness and whereas the Upshur County Commission is honored to take part in the annual observance of the Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Day and hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the disorder. Now therefore, the Upshur County Commission does hereby recognize April 2022 as Autism Awareness Month and April 2, 2022, as World Autism Awareness Day in Upshur County, West Virginia and we call this observance to the attention of all of our citizens signed this 24th day of March 2022,” read Wallace.
Commissioner Kristie G. Tenney made a proclamation for a motion to approve and Terry B. Cutright made the first motion, with Samuel R. Nolte making the second and the motion carrying. Following the approval, Samantha Ribeiro Matos, who was in attendance for the meeting, wanted to share some information with commissioners.
“I just wanted to give a couple highlights to take away on Autism. I have two boys that have the same parents and same diagnosis and their sensory needs are really different. So, one of my favorite sayings is ‘If you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person.’ It is really important to recognize that everyone’s sensory needs are different. There are no two people that are the same, one might not like one thing, one might not like another, one might have food aversions, one might not. Behavior is really important too. A lot of people may think that autistic kids are bad kids because they act out but really they are like everyone else but just can’t process things the same way. I really appreciate you guys acknowledging this and helping to spread awareness,” said Ribeiro Matos. “The last time that the CDC put out the statistics last year it was 1 in 58, so the prevalence has really increased and I think that is because people are realizing that it is not just a bad kid but that there is something else being that and getting them diagnosed and the services that they need.”
According to the CDC, “a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.” Additionally, the CDC provided a list of symptoms that may occur in children or adults with ASD.
Locals can participate in Autism Awareness Day, celebrated annually on April 2, by wearing blue. Also, autismspeaks.org advises you can support Autism Awareness by doing the following:
• Taking the pledge to create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential by increasing understanding and acceptance. You’ll receive free information, resources and tools to engage and advocate in your community and learn the impact of your support through Autism Speaks.
• Join our 2.8 million social followers and help foster understanding and acceptance by sharing the diverse stories of people on the spectrum or telling your own. Submit your story for our social media pages here.
• Invite your colleagues, classroom and friends to join our Kindness Campaign and encourage acceptance, understanding and inclusion with daily acts of kindness at school, work or in your community. Together, we can create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
• Make a meaningful, lasting impact for people with autism with your gift. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to show your support. Donate today!
• Learn about all the ways you can fundraise on social media.
• Joined by the international community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world come together on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, to Light It Up Blue in recognition of people with autism and those who love and support them.