Support for Autism and Special Needs in Genesee County

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Genesee County, March 25, 2019

April is just a week away, so it seems like a good time to talk about an important subject that affects many families in Genesee County. April is Autism awareness month! According to the Center for Disease Control, autism affects approximately 1 in 59 children in the U.S today (Autism, Speaks, 2019).

Those familiar with the condition, know the demands on caregivers working with an autistic child. According to Autism Speaks (2019), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is associated with challenges in social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech delay, and more.

Personal Experience

My son has Autism. When you, a loved one, or friend is diagnosed with a medical condition, the first thing we often do is reach out for guidance. Not knowing what to do or where to turn can be overwhelming.

We all react differently to hardships in life, one constant is that life always changes. How we react to change determines the quality of our lives. Approaching change in a positive manner can make it one of the best parts of our lives. Change brings experience, it can result in major accomplishments, it can turn into one of our greatest motivators. But, sometimes we need help dealing with life changes outside of the circle of family and friends.

Professional help is available, knowing where to find it is key. The advantages of this type of support can lead to new opportunities for a better lifestyle.

Support Available in Genesee County

Individuals with autism can lead enjoyable and productive lives. The television show “The Good Doctor” portrays a surgical resident with autism that uses his unique skills to help patients. Autism awareness is growing and Genesee County does a fantastic job at providing information and services to those in need. Here is a list of organizations that can help caregivers working with autistic individuals

Easterseals
Photo Courtesy of Easterseals

Easterseals assists those with disabilities and their families by providing a wide range of services from speech therapy to occupational training and more. By doing this, they change the way the world defines and views disabilities, helping patients build the skills to go about their normal life. Contact info: Easterseals, 1420 University Ave, Flint, MI 48504 (810) 238-0475 http://www.easterseals.com/michigan/what-we-do/

The Children’s Autism Center
Photo Courtesy of The Children’s Autism Center

Through the Genesee Health System in Flint, The Children’s Autism Center provides Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for those with ASD. The behavioral analysts, technicians, and every certified professional involved strive to do their best to provide a comfortable and enjoyable environment for kids to grow and learn. Contact info: The Children’s Autism Center, 2700 Robert T. Longway Blvd. Suite C, Flint, MI 48503 (810)496-4955 http://www.genhs.org/Autism

The World of Wonder

Fenton’s World of Wonder provides early childhood education for not only kids with Autism but kids with a wide range of disabilities as well. They work to implement Phonics First instruction as well as providing fun activities such as singing upbeat songs, creative story-telling, outdoor play, and even swim class. Contact info: World of Wonder, 404 W Ellen St, Fenton, MI 48430 (810)591-8349 https://www.fentonschools.org/ellen-street/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/03/ellen-st-world-of-wonder-aer-letter-2017-18-1.pdf

Genesee Intermediate School District

The Genesee Intermediate School District provides early childhood programs and services for kids ages 2-8 with autism spectrum disorder and those with cognitive impairment. Their mission is to create TIES: Teach, Inspire, Encourage, and Support. They accomplish this through a trans-disciplinary model by using positive approaches to behavior and structured classroom routines to encourage student success as well as family support.

You are encouraged to visit the friendly staff and see the creative equipment used in the gym and classrooms. Contact info: Genesee Intermediate School District, 5089 Pilgrim Road, Flint MI 48507 (810)591-4883 https://geneseeisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=188937&pageId=653827

Autism Support and Resource Center

The Autism Support and Resource Center, in Burton, provides social, recreational, and life skill experiences to those living with autism. Their slogan “Assume competence. See the able, not the label. Accept and integrate.” Is a positive centered approach to interaction with those who have autism.

They provide a list of events going on in Genesee County. They support P.O.W.E.R camp, athletic programs, art classes, and other recreational opportunities.

P.O.W.E.R. Camp / Photo Courtesy of The Autism Support and Resource Center

One of their annual fundraisers is just around the corner. If you like to run, on May 18th, 2019, ASRC will host the “See the Able, Not the Label” 5k Run/Walk for Autism! Check out their webpage and get registered.

Genesee County provides an abundance of helpful resources. It is important to know you are not alone as an autism caregiver. There are resources out there to make things easier to care for a loved one with Autism and special needs in general. We can all make a difference by caring, sharing, and being a positive support for Autism awareness.