Autism Awareness Prompts Educational Effort

April is Autism Awareness Month, April 2 was the 12th annual World Autism Day, and the National Autism Association is launching an educational effort.

Created by Neon, an FCB Health Network agency, Autism SOS aims to raise awareness for the commonly unknown signs that parents/caregivers should look out for in very young children.

The campaign includes a website where caregivers and healthcare providers can learn more about the symptoms of autism, download and share a series of Autism SOS awareness posters.

There’s also video content and a discussion guide on how to properly approach the caregiver of a young child who may be showing signs of autism.

The goal of the campaign is to help parents identify early warning signs so they can screen and start intervention as early as possible, says National Autism Association President Wendy Fournier.



Autism SOS was coined as a quick, memorable acronym for helping to recognize the initial signs of autism in children ages 12 months to 24 months. “S” stands for social avoidance -- difficulty relating to other people and the world;  “O” is for obsessive, repetitive or non-flexible behavior; and  “S” stands for speech delays -- difficulty communicating, both verbally and non-verbally.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 59 children in the United States has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Though very early intervention has been proven to maximize the impact of physical, speech and behavioral therapies, many parents and caregivers are unaware that detection is possible at an early age.

Meanwhile, Target is debuting a line of merchandise geared toward children with sensory sensitivity. The line, called Pillowfort, includes a desk chair built to rock, a foam crash pad, a weighted blanket and a cocoon chair.

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