Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
Don Roberts, mayor, issued a proclamation declaring April the Autism Awareness Month during an Edgerton city council meeting April 11. Roberts was joined by Raina Lupton, Erin Chapman and Jennifer Smith who are all involved in youth advocacy and autism awareness programs.
Roberts said the issue of autism in the community is dear to his heart as he has a relative who was diagnosed with the disability.
“These kids are extremely sharp and really amazing,” he said.
Lupton said she was excited to be a part of a community that was supportive of families that deal with Autistic children and loved ones.
Chapman said that Southwest Johnson County area including Edgerton and Gardner is good for kids with Autism to grow up in.
Smith said she’s thankful for all the programs in the community that make life easier for families dealing with Autistic individuals.
She singled out the ‘take me home’ program that helps law enforcement officers recognize signs of autism in individuals they come across in their duties.
“The training for first responders is hugely important,” she said adding that children with autism eventually become adults with Autism and the community was duty-bound to continue treating them with understanding and compassion.
Smith said there was continued need for employment and job training for adults with Autism.
The national Autism Awareness Month is spearheaded by the National Autism Society with the aim of educating parents, professionals and the general public about creating a better world for Autism.
“Autism is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect individual’s ability to communicate, process sensory input and interact with others,” Roberts said in the proclamation.