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Autism, Our Community, and the Power of Early Intervention

Submitted by Champion, Ted McGreer

ted mcgreerAs a Vision 2020 Champion, and a parent of a child with Autism, I would like to bring awareness and thank the people in our community who go to work every day to help make strides for children on the spectrum.

First, let me start by saying that every child on the Autism Spectrum has a special gift that can bring joy and humility to each of us. They are the true champions who, along with their parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, and caregivers, are impacting and changing lives on a daily basis.

A new case of Autism is diagnosed every 15 minutes and although there is no medical detection or cure for Autism, early diagnosis and intervention can improve outcomes. Our son Matthew is living proof of this.

Prior to his first birthday he started showing signs of Autism. At first, we thought he might have an issue with his hearing as he was non-verbal, and would not respond to his name or other general commands, though he would respond negatively to very loud noises like clapping. As we pieced together other signs such as his staring at the ceiling fans, playing with light switches for hours, never making eye contact, not having interest in playing with toys or his sister, having tantrums where he would hit his head on the floor repeatedly, and walking on tip toes, we realized we needed help. We reached out to our pediatrician and child care provider and gained the support to move forward.

Through the care of our pediatrician, the diagnosis from the specialist at Crotched Mountain, and referrals from Monadnock Developmental Services, we were able to get our son the much needed early intervention services he required. With the help of Rise for Baby and Family, the Child Development Center at Keene State College, and SAU 29, Matthew is now a highly functioning child on the Autism Spectrum and attends our neighborhood public school as a kindergartner.

Learn the early signs of autism and understand the typical developmental milestones at http://www.autismspeaks.org/signs.

Most importantly don’t wait. Speak to your doctor about screening your child for autism. Show your support and wear blue on April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day and throughout April, Autism Awareness Month.