Staff, faculty, and students from Ross Medical Education Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Portage, Michigan set Autism Awareness as their focus for the month of April. Kalamazoo and Portage organized students and staff to participate in the annual “Walk About, Talk About Autism” event which was located at the Portage Celery Flats. The student area was decorated with blue puzzle pieces, the universal symbol for Autism Awareness, and information sheets were available to everyone. The President of the Autism Society in Kalamazoo was welcomed on campus as a guest speaker. Trina Wood spoke to the entire campus about diagnosing autism, treatment, therapies, and even shared her own personal journey with her autistic teenage son.
Trina left some autism facts for the classes to discuss:
- 1 in every 62 children is diagnosed with autism
- Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls
- Autism is the leading developmental delay in children
- Autism affects the whole family
- Autism has no cause or cure
- Autism affects all cultures
- Autism is a lifelong disability
- Families need help and support
- Autism affects each person differently
Trina also shared about the Kalamazoo Autism Society. The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek chapter was begun in 1982 by a group of parents who wanted to find support for their families as well as provide support to other families facing the challenges of autism. Because autism is a complex disorder, it often takes a toll on the entire family, and the support is very helpful. Although the organization has changed throughout the years, their goal of support families has not. They continue to provide support, information, events, and access to valuable resources. Some of the services they offer include support group meetings with speakers, educational workshops, family fun events, community trainings, mentorships, and more.
To learn more about what they offer, visit the Autism Society of Kalamazoo’s website at www.kalamazooautismsociety.org.