Local family brings awareness about autism

Autism Awareness month kicks off today. The developmental disorder affects 1 in 59 children in the U.S.

Posted: Apr. 2, 2019 12:45 PM
Updated: Apr. 2, 2019 12:54 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Autism Awareness month kicks off today. The developmental disorder affects 1 in 59 children in the U.S.

Unlocking the Spectrum offers Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy for all children with autism. They say behaviors that might be associated with autism include delayed learning of language, difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation, and or sensory sensitivities.

Teana Chiado has two children with autism.

Ariah Childress is 11-years-old. She was diagnosed with the disorder five years ago. Ariah will tell you she loves her mom, her two stuffed animal bunnies and her weighted pad.

Teana Chiado, Ariah's mom, says she knew something was different about her daughter after she was born, but it wasn't until she was 6-years-old that she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Unlocking the Spectrum says not all children in the U.S. are diagnosed as early as can be. They say parents should reach out for help if they have any concerns about their children.

Through therapy, Ariah and her mom learned ways to cope and found tools to help, like her bunnies and weighted pad. Experts say this is an example of deep-pressure therapy. It relieves anxiety and calms children with autism or sensory disorders.

Ariah says she has learned to live with autism.

"You're going to get way better," she said. "First, you're going to start out really bad, but then you're going to get way better. Before I couldn't do any eye contact, but now I can talk and do eye contact."

Some characteristics are very poor social skills, outbursts at times, and other behavioral issues. Some children are non-verbal. They don't speak. There are also many who fall somewhere in between.

"Almost as soon as she was born, she {Ariah} wouldn't be held," Chiado said. "You couldn't cuddle her. She never cried. If you held her, her body would start to tense up and she'd archer back."

Chiado says she wants to bring awareness and have people understand autism.

"I know that they {her two autistic children} struggle and I know that some things are harder for them, but the people that they are I wouldn't change it for the world."

To learn more about Unlocking The Spectrum, click here

To learn more about autism, click here

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