Autism is just one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), lifelong developmental disabilities characterised by marked difficulties in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours and sensory sensitivities.
The word ‘spectrum’ is used because the range and severity of the difficulties people with an ASD experience can vary widely. ASDs include Autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), which is also known as atypical autism. Sometimes the word “autism” is used to refer to all ASDs.
Research shows that about 1 in 100 children, almost 230 000 Australians, have an ASD and that it is more prevalent in boys than girls. The effects of an ASD can often be minimised by early diagnosis and with the right interventions, many children and adults with an ASD show marked improvements.
Autism came to the attention of the Lugarno Lions when the grand-daughter of a Lion was diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age. The cost of helping this young child was crippling for a young family, so the Lions decided something had to be done. And so the journey began.
There are many deserving causes, each one crying out for help. As Lions we recognise we cannot solve all the World’s problems – so we are taking them one at a time. Our focus is clearly on autism, and once autism is being well managed we Lions will choose our next challenge. And so it goes.
Research has found that intervention for children aged five years and under with a disability such as autism can greatly improve a child’s chances of leading a normal lifestyle, and currently this age group slips through the cracks. We want to fix that problem.
Does early intervention work?
The very short answer is YES. There is growing well researched evidence that clearly shows the benefits of early intervention. The reality is that many children with Autism who are exposed to early intervention therapies enter mainstream schooling successfully. Want more proof?
The ASD Kids Communicate project is one example where early intervention is making a difference in the lives of children (and their families) impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Spearheaded by the Lions Club of Lugarno and the Autism Community Network (ACN), and supported by lions clubs throughout Australia, the project has raised $79,000 and has provided 120 non-verbal children with ASD with ipads to help them communicate. Read more here about the ASD Kids Communicate Project
Don’t listen to us! Listen to them …
There is plenty of information available on the internet – we will provide links to those that impress us the most. We have also received unsolicited letters from families who live with ASD; they are also reproduced