TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - This year, the CDC reported that 1 in 54 children in the United States are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. April is National Autism Awareness month. One local organization is doing their part to still bring awareness to these statistics despite everything that’s going on.
Unlocking the Spectrum is an organization that works with those of all ages who are diagnosed with a form of autism.
News 10 spoke with Regional Director Courtney Pingleton of the Terre Haute location, and Executive Director of the company Marc Baumgardt. They talked more about what locally they are doing to spread awareness.
In Terre Haute specifically, Pingleton says they are trying their best to still show autism awareness during this month even though they can’t really do anything publicly with everythjng that’s going on.
Last week was World Autism Awareness Day. All staff and clients wore blue to show awareness.
They also are having themed weeks to show awareness. For instance, this week is superhero week. Their staff dressed up as superheros to have fun and still promote this month even though they can’t have public events.
Executive Director Marc Baumgardt said this month is about promoting that help is out there for those struggling with autism.
“There are a variety of ways in which we can help. I think sometimes families—depending on what they are looking for— they may not realize even if it’s a really specific thing that they can still get help with that,” Baumgardt explained.
Baumgardt also spoke about Unlocking the Spectrum’s mission. He explained how they are joining the nationwide effort to assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible.
Unlocking the Spectrum’s big picture mission is to increase independence of people they work with. They want to Promote independence within those on the autism spectrum’s while they are at home, school, or community.
Baumgardt says this will hopefully provide greater opportunities for joy for them. He says National Autism Awareness Month is to let families know that help is available.
They work Toddlers all the way to teens or even adult aged folks. Baumgardt says one thing their service does is work to build skills with individualized programs for each person. He told me that’s what makes them unique.
“What I really feel is one of our strengths is that we are a very client centered service provider. We truly individualize our services,” he concluded, “We’re going to customize that programming, we’re going to find that schedule. Whatever resources are needed, we’re going to be able to provide those.”
Baumgardt says that the need is great nationwide for these types of services. What National Autism Awareness month is really about is letting people know help is out there, just like Unlocking The Spectrum is in Terre Haute.