Our view: Support those with autism

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 68 children are affected by it. It occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Diagnosis is difficult, and treatment is nonexistent.

Autism spectrum disorder affects a growing number of people across the world, and our community is no exception.

We’re pleased Opelika chooses to participate in recognizing those with autism during April of each year, turning the fountain blue and playing host to events to benefit local autism groups. The second annual Spring Fling at Spring Villa appeared to be a great success, and we’re proud to see our community coming together to support those who deal with autism themselves, in their families or among their friends. Programs like Miracle League and Expressions of a Braveheart give children in our city who have autism – as well as other children with developmental or physical disorders or delays – the opportunity to experience some of those joys of childhood they might not have access to otherwise, and we cannot say thank you enough to the people who make those programs possible.

As a spectrum disorder, autism can not always easily be recognized, and it affects people very differently. But what people with autism – and their families – need is what all of us need: love, understanding and support.

We know it can be quite a challenge to deal with the special needs of someone with autism, and we’d like to encourage everyone to reach out to those they know with the disorder. Never underestimate the value of a kind word, a smile or a hug.

We hope that some day in the future, more will be discovered about causes and treatments for ASD, and maybe someday there won’t even be a need to “Light it up Blue.” But for now, the children and families that face autism need the best of us: our volunteer time and the love, understanding and support that bless both the giver and recipient equally.

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