Ascension leader pushes autism awareness _lowres

Photo provided by LESTER KENYON -- Parish President Kenny Matassa presented a parish proclamation making April 2016 “Autism Awareness Month” in Ascension Parish. Shown, from left, are Pat Daigle, Matassa, Candace Nemmo, Matthew Nemmo, Ralph Daigle and Jamie Tindle, executive director with Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge.

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month in Ascension Parish.

Matassa made the proclamation at the Ascension Parish Council meeting March 17.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels, a news release said. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls. The latest analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children has ASD, the release said.

Jamie Tindle, executive director of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, accepted the proclamation and announced the upcoming event the Greater Baton Rouge ACTIVE for Autism seventh annual Run/Walk and Fun Fest that will take place on April 30. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at State Police headquarters, 7919 Independence Blvd.

Tindle said proceeds from this event support Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge’s program — Resource Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. The program provides individualized services, information and support needed to enhance the independence, productivity and inclusion of people with ASD.

For more information, call (225) 216-7474 or visit www.fhfgbr.org.