FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 22, 2013) -- Autism affects millions of children and Families around the world, and Fort Rucker is joining the fight during Autism Awareness Month to bring awareness and education to those that need help.

Events, such as a workshop and a golf tournament, will be held throughout April to help bring awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders and ways that military Family members can seek help if needed, according to Marion Cornish, Exceptional Family Member Program manager.

"Autism Awareness Month on Fort Rucker is designed to put some awareness out there for individuals who may not be familiar with what autism is and what it looks like," she said. "It impacts the military community just as much as it impacts the civilian community."

Autism affects one in 88 children in the U.S., a 78-percent increase from 2002, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but it's unclear whether the increase is due to a rise in autistic children or a better understanding of the disorder leading to better diagnoses.

Cornish said the first line of defense against ASD is to educate individuals on how to recognize the symptoms and what to do if a child is diagnosed.

Throughout the month, displays will be set up at Bldg. 5700, the Center Library and the post exchange that will have information on autism and ASD. Autism Spectrum Disorders include autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorders and Asperger Syndrome, according to the EFMP manager.

The most common and noticeable signs of ASD are problems with social, emotional and communication skills, said Cornish.

"One thing that is very characteristic of autistic children is that they have little or no social skills because they don't like to be touched and it's hard for them to interact with their peers," she said. "By nature we as people are very social, so if that type of behavior is noticed early on, that might be a sign."

Another event that people have the opportunity to attend is the Applied Behavioral Analysis Workshop, which will be held at The Commons April 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and people wanting to attend must register by April 23. For more information or to register, call 255-9277.

"Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy has shown to be successful for a lot of individuals affected ASDs," said Cornish. "This [workshop] can help individuals understand how to respond to these type of behaviors and help them get the resources they need if they need more help."

The workshop is not just for Family members affected by ASDs, but also for professionals in the field that wish to learn more about the ABA process, according to the EFMP manager. It's also an opportunity for some to earn continuing education units, she added.

Another event to bring awareness to what ABA can offer is the Enlisten Scholarships for ABA Therapy Charity Golf Tournament hosted by the Progress Center.

The tournament will be April 26 at Silver Wings Golf Course with a shotgun start at 9 a.m., according to Amy Bennett, the Progress Center.

"Thanks to our friends at the 1st Aviation Brigade, we are proud to be [hosting] our first ever golf tournament," she said. "All proceeds will benefit children in the Wiregrass area who are in desperate need of ABA and Auditory therapy.

"Many children on the autism spectrum do not receive basic treatments and therapies because their parent's insurance does not cover ABA therapy," she continued. "Our goal is to raise enough proceeds to benefit 18 Families who need our services."

The game will be an 18-hole scramble (Captain's Choice) tournament, and competitions include closest to pin, straightest drive and hole-in-one. The entry fee is $65 per person and golfers of all skill levels are welcome, she said. For more information or to register, call 470-3400.

"We just want Families to know that there are resources that are available to them," said Cornish. "Knowledge is power and it helps to know which direction to go. The resources are out there and you just have to know how to plug them in, and we can help."

Page last updated Mon April 22nd, 2013 at 11:21