BENEFITING: THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF HAWAII
ORGANIZER: THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF HAWAII
THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF HAWAII wrote -
Autism is a severe disorder of communication, socialization, stereotypical repetitive behavior and restricted interests. It is a life-long, developmental disability that prevents individuals from properly understanding what they see, hear, and otherwise sense. Common symptoms include difficulty in understanding social relationships, marked restriction of activities and interests, and the absence or impairment of speech. Autism impacts 1 in 68 individuals. Autism is a syndrome; individuals may exhibit several characteristics of autism, but not others. Autism ranges from mild to severe. Many persons with autism also have significant seizure activity. Some persons with autism understand enough about the world around them, and are able to interact to some degree in a social context, so that they can participate significantly in their own life decisions: live and work with family and friends and attend college if they choose. This level of integration in the community was considered unthinkable twenty years ago, and came only because of the monumental efforts of parents and professionals. On the other hand, there are also persons with autism who have almost no understanding of the world around them, and whose social and communication deficits severely effect their ability to make decisions and integrate fully into a community in a way far different from someone who is challenged by mental retardation alone. And there are many thousands of other persons with autism who fall at some point in between these two extremes. And this clearly demonstrates the need for CHOICE. Because persons with autism vary so much in their comprehension, skills, and behaviors, there must be a wide range of educational, residential, vocational, and recreational options available if each individual is going to have the opportunity to reach his or her greatest potential for independence, productivity, and happiness.