Autism Awareness Month is soon to wrap up. As we approach the month of May, we hope to continue spreading awareness about this often misunderstood condition. The autism spectrum is vast and it can be difficult to truly understand everyone who identifies as autistic. But understanding even just one person on the spectrum... that can be a difference-maker. That's why we set out to talk to people whose lives have been changed by autism. Today, we are interviewing Angel whose son was diagnosed with autism at age 4.
Angel is a proud father to a 10-year-old boy with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified) Autism. Angel Jr., who shares his name with his father, was diagnosed at age 4 after his parents noticed a different type of behavior before his third birthday.
Because of his autism, Angel Jr. has a hard time socializing with other people, no matter how much he wants to meet and hang out with other kids. But autism doesn’t keep Angel Jr. from achieving his goals. He learned to read at age 4, solve math problems at age 6, and has developed a phenomenal passion for science. His most memorable talent is remembering things. “His brain is like an elephant’s,” Angel says. As for his passions, they’re technical and scientific in nature too. Angel Jr. makes origami figures of all different kinds, especially animals and dinosaurs — a rare talent only those with a knack for remembering intricate instructions possess.
Thanks to local programs like HEAL, Angel Jr. gets a chance to meet other children with autism at fun camp events for art, golf, surfing, and many more. The program advocates for children and their families so these events give every member of the family an opportunity to connect and promote autism awareness together.
We asked Angel: What do you wish to see happen in the future of autism?
“I would like people to understand and learn more about autism. Autism is a condition that’s continuing to grow in our population. If we educate and raise awareness, more people will have a better understanding of the autism spectrum,” Angel says. “And if we want to continue raising awareness, we need to contribute to more causes like HEAL and Autism Speaks,” Angel adds.
HEAL is a nonprofit outreach organization based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL that promotes autism awareness and sponsors programs for children with autism and their families.
Since 2005, Autism Speaks has advocated for those who are on the autism spectrum and their families. Click here to find out how you can help promote autism awareness today.
Did you know? More than 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed with autism every year. Signs of autism appear between 2 or 3 years of age and it is very important for parents and healthcare providers to recognize these signs as early as possible. Early Intervention by way of behavioral therapies have been shown to improve outcomes for children diagnosed early on with ASD. Click here to learn more about Early Intervention on our blog.