National Autism Association “One in 88 children and 1 out of 54 boys are born with ASD” (National Autism Association, 2012), autism spectrum disorder. Many people have heard of the disability called autism, but many do not know what it is exactly or the struggles it can bring. National Autism Association is an organization that provides knowledge to the community about autism, while providing help and hope so that all affected children can reach their full potential.
NAA provides many programs to help support individual with ASD as well as his or her family, including the Helping Hand Program, Big Red Safety, and Progress Research. NAA strives to help the autistic community while offering opportunities to support this cause. Before knowing what NAA is, it is important to have a better understanding of the disability called autism. Autism is a bio-neurological development disability which impacts development of the brain and areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.
Individuals with autism often have physical limitations such as allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, feeding disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communications, social interactions, and much more. ASD is not just autism it includes other disorders such as “autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome” (Autism Speaks, 2012).
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There is much controversy as to why people have autism. The biggest argument is that autism is due to vaccinations because of the chemical exposure. Other exposures to the environment can cause autism if the immune system has certain conditions. Another argument is genetics, but the rate of increase of autism today makes genetics an unlikely reason. It was once believed the way a child is raised by their parents has an influence on autism. A few other arguments include: pesticide exposure, parental age, pharmaceuticals, freeway proximity, and limited prenatal vitamin intake.
NAA suggests to families that if they have a child with autism, they should research various causes to become more aware and have a better understanding as to why a child might have autism. NAA has a mission statement that includes: “The mission of the National Autism Association is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential. ” (National Autism Association, 2012) Having an autistic family member can be a challenge; NAA can help the family members as well as the person with autism in many different ways.
NAA helps parents to understand “You’re Not Alone,” after explaining that they will help you find a support group close to you. This can be through the Yellow Pages or by going online to find a NAA chapter in your area. They also provide some links for support and discussions where you can ask questions, state concerns, or simply talk to others who may be in the same situation. In addition to providing sources to help families find support, NAA has many programs to help afflicted families.
Through these programs, NAA’s goals are to strengthen autism families by providing support, giving them up-to-date information on research, funding research, and raising awareness. NAA provides support through the Helping Hand Program, Big Red Safety Box, and Progress Research. The Helping Hand Program is a program that helps families who cannot afford the medical expenses related to their family member with autism. NAA reaches out to families who make less than $50,000 a year by providing financial aid.
This can be used for specialized medicines and therapy services for the treatment of autism. The Big Red Safety Box program, when funded, provides a life-saving tool kit at no cost to families with a member with autism. A donor can pay $35 to have a Box provided to a family. The Box provides tools to help keep a person with autism safe in their home. Some items include: education materials and tools, two door/window alarms with batteries, personalized engraved shoe ID tag, five stop signs for doors and windows, safety alert window clings, and a safety alert wristband.
NAA supports research for ASD because they believe that one day a cure will be found. NAA’s research fund supports studies which show promise for children suffering now. Research seeks cures, discovers new treatments, answers questions, and promotes progress. Among the many challenges of having a child with autism is keeping the child out of harms way is one of the most difficult. The Big Red Safety Box mentioned earlier provides tools to equip the home with safety accommodations, but there are other dangers to a child with autism.
NAA provides information on how to keep the child from wandering, gives advice on how to respond to bullying, and suggests methods for suicide prevention. A California research team showed that mortality of people with autism has high numbers in drowning as a result of wandering; in addition, there are other wandering factors that are the cause of death. NAA provides twelve ways to prevent ASD wandering. First, the caregiver should understand wandering patterns and prevent anything that would cause the person to wander.
Second, teach the child about safety by showing pictures or use simple explanations familiar to the child. Third, secure the home with door and window alarms or even fencing in the yard. Fourth, have the child wear a wrist band or anklet with a tracking device in case of emergency. Fifth, have the child wear a medical ID bracelet with his or her name and telephone number and other important information. Sixth, enroll the child in swimming lessons. NAA provides a list of YMCAs that are available for special needs swimming lessons.
Seventh, alert neighbors that the child may wander, and who should be notified when they see this. Eighth, alert first responders, so that if something may happen, they can improve response with the information given to them. Ninth, have a “tag, you’re it” strategy, where the child tags the closest adult who then becomes the person watching the child closely. Tenth, secure external settings such as school or camp know policies and inform teachers about wandering. Eleventh, learn from others by researching or asking people who also have children with autism.
Twelfth, never have s false sense; as the child grows up, he or she will learn new things and have more abilities, so be sure to make changes as they grow and learn. These twelve steps can help prevent ASD wandering, and keep the child safe. Bullying is a serious issue in schools, especially in relation to students with autism. Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied. There are multiple forms of bullying, and each one can be detrimental to a child’s learning and future. NAA has resources and provides information about bullying for parents of a bullied child and the student who is being bullied.
NAA also provides information on suicide prevention and gives help via sources such as suicidepreventionlifeline. org. Whether a person has a family member with a form of ASD or ASD touches the heart, help can be provided in various ways. NAA helps the autistic community but they need donations and support to continue to do so. NAA provides a venue to collect donations. This can be done in honor of someone. The donor may choose to purchase items at NAA’s “Little Shop of Hope,” where the proceeds benefit NAA. It is possible to start an online fundraising site or choose rom other methods of raising funds. ASD affects more children than any other childhood disorder, yet it is the least funded disorder. Helping raise awareness of NAA can provide more resources for research to assist members of the autistic community. NAA is an organization that provides assistance to those in the ASD community. Because of NAA’s many ways of support, the autistic community is progressing to becoming more informed and supported. Autism is a large part of the world, and until there is a cure it will continue to be.
It is important to remember that NAA needs the communities support to continue on in their Mission “to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential” (National Autism Association, 2012). Works Cited "National Autism Association. " National Autism Association. N. p. , 2012. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. <http://nationalautismassociation. org/>. “Autism Speaks. " Autism Speaks. N. p. , 2012. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. <http://www. autismspeaks. org/>.
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