Written by Lisa Goring Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
Each year in April, millions of people around the world participate in Autism Speaks’ global Light It Up Blue campaign during Autism Awareness Month. It is a time to recognize and shine a bright light on those affected by autism, and to promote their contributions to our families, communities and society at large.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of complex disorders of brain development. These developmental disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Autism currently affects one in 88 children, and for many it is a lifelong disorder.
Beyond awareness, it is important as a society to familiarize ourselves with autism and its symptoms so that children and adults on the autism spectrum can feel understood and accepted in today’s world.
For many, autism is an invisible disability; unlike a person who walks with leg braces or crutches, for instance, people with ASD are not easily identified by their appearance or upon a brief first impression. Therefore, it is easy for some to pass negative judgment when they encounter someone who does not seem to respond to a request, has difficulty reading facial expressions and other social cues, or may express intense interest that focus repetitively on a single activity or an unusual object. This, coupled with a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste or touch, can make the world a very challenging place at times and may result in distressed or unusual behaviors.
At the same time, it is very important to note that people with autism also have strengths and skills that may go unseen as well. These often include strong long-term memories, skills in art, music, math or science, an exact adherence to rules and routines and the inclination to be precise and honest. The emphasis needs to be on the abilities of people with autism, not their disabilities.
A vital focus of Light It Up Blue and Autism Awareness Month is placed on highlighting the wonderful success stories of so many people with ASD who have overcome many significant challenges in their lives to become fully integrated and contributing members of their communities.
People with autism want to be accepted and included. They want to be a part of our schools, neighborhoods, recreational activities, workplaces and communities. For those with ASD to truly be included and valued, they need to be accepted; accepted for their strengths as well as their challenges. That may mean being a little more patient if it takes a little longer to do something, or if a person doesn’t answer right away or relies on a device to communicate.
People with autism have a lot to say and a lot to contribute to our community—it may just be in a slightly different way. With one in 88 being diagnosed with autism, it’s not enough to just have one month of awareness. Rather, what is needed is a community of support and acceptance year-round; a community that acknowledges everyone’s differences and challenges, and a community that works together to support everyone, making for a richer and more inclusive environment for us all.
Area resident Lisa Goring is Vice President, Family Services, at Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00
If the Farmingdale Rams are going to get over the top and capture the Skyline Conference for men’s soccer in 2014, it will take some more aggressive play. That’s according to team captain and defensive player Vincent Danetti.
“We don’t have a lot of big guys on our team,” Danetti said. “We need to play aggressive.”
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00
Bring your four-legged friends—in costume if they’d like—to roam Old Westbury Gardens during ‘Dog Days.’ Twice a year canines are welcome to accompany their (leashed) humans around the grounds of the mansion, and this is Fido’s last shot until spring. On Sunday, enjoy exhibits from rescue groups and animal welfare organizations from 1 to 4 p.m. A dog costume contest and parade takes place at 3 p.m. All activities included with admission: $8, $5 for seniors and $3 for children ages 7 to 17. At 71 Old Westbury Rd., Westbury, Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tel: 516-333-0048.
Friday, 17 October 2014 09:04
The Farmingdale State College Women’s Volleyball team earned a three-set victory of York in a non-conference match on Oct. 8.
Tied 4-4 in the opening set, Farmingdale State freshman defensive specialist Gina Giacalone served for 14 consecutive points to extend the advantage 18-4. The Rams cruised to a 25-8 victory in the first set.
Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00
Farmingdale team wins annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Race
On Sunday, Sept. 28, the Farmingdale-based Runner’s Edge team earned first place overall in the 29th annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Relay. The team, representing the Runner’s Edge running and multisport specialty store located at 242 Main St. in Farmingdale, consisted of Boyd Carrington, Andrew Coelho, Nick Pampena, Tim Lee, Shawn Anderson, Ryan Healy, Kevin Galante, and Brandon Abasolo. It completed the 50-mile course from Jones Beach State Park to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay in 4 hours, 41 minutes, 58 seconds. The runners won by a margin of more than 10 minutes over the runner-up team from the Sayville & Smithtown Running Company, with much of the difference supplied by the strong Leg 2 performance by Andrew Coelho. Runner’s Edge Teams also took second place honors in the Mixed Open and Men’s Masters Divisions of the Relay. The Relay was sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union (“Built to Give You More”), with new Race Directors Glen Wolther and Keith Montgomery managing the event for the host Greater Long Island Running Club.