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, 11 December 2013 00:00
This past Fall, Farmingdale village officials approved plans to construct the proposed Staller Project—located at 285 Eastern Parkway in Farmingdale—which will usher in 27 residential housing units. Now, after further discussion with village officials, developers with Staller Associates, Inc. have modified their original renderings to change the once olive-colored facade with steel panels to red brick, to better match the motif of downtown Farmingdale.
After discussing the initial proposal with several residents, some of whom did not feel the cold steel panels were a good fit with some of the surrounding buildings, Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said he contacted the Hauppague-based developers to find a way to better compliment the community.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
Bethpage Water District officials recently filed a federal lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Corp., claiming the company’s facilities caused “irreparable harm” by creating a toxic plume that has contaminated the groundwater, costing the district millions of dollars and threatening more than 33,000 customers in Bethpage, Old Bethpage, Farmingdale, Levittown and Plainview.
According to the lawsuit, the district is demanding a jury trial to determine whether Grumman owes compensation for the costs of monitoring contaminants, operations, maintenance, treatment upgrades, and equipment required to comply with state and federal safe drinking water law; or whether Grumman would bear the expense of securing an alternative source of clean drinking water.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Thirteen male and female student-athletes at Farmingdale High School have signed scholarship letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at prestigious schools around the county. During the “College signing day” ceremony, on Dec. 5, friends, families, faculty, academic advisors, coaches, and parents joined student athletes in support of their collegiate careers.
The following students have signed letters of intent:
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Franklin Diaz of Farmingdale scored as the third overall finisher in the 21st annual Rob’s Run—a 5-kilometer cross-country style race through Stillwell Woods in Woodbury, hosted by New York Blood Services,
Diaz finished with a total time of 16 minutes and 43 seconds.
After finishing the race, on Dec. 1, Franklin went back out onto the course to run with his nephew Anthony Diaz, who was celebrating his 10th birthday. Anthony finished the run with a total time of 29 minutes and 37 seconds.
534 competitors finished this year’s run which was put together by the Greater Long Island Running Club, in memorium of Rob Lauterborn.