April is autism awareness month, and this year there’s more to be aware of than in previous years.
In March of 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised the number of children affected with autism from 1 to 110 to 1 in 88, almost a 25 percent increase since 2006.
This is startling news for some Tri-state parents, as the state of Ohio doesn’t require insurance companies to provide coverage for children with autism. But nonprofit organizations like the Cincinnati Center for Autism seek to extend care to as many autistic children as possible.
“What families really need is to be able to get intensive services from the time the child is diagnosed,” says Amanda Tipkemper, program director at the Cincinnati Center for Autism. “We provide a lot of treatment options to families.”
Discouraged by the lack of resources available in Cincinnati, Matthew Brennan, a local businessman and father of a child with autism, founded the Cincinnati Center for Autism in 2003. CCA is one of the first private facilities for families with autistic children that is family-founded and family-focused.
“What families really need is to be able to get intensive services from the time the child is diagnosed,” says Tipkemper.
CCA works with children of all ages and offers programs that cater to the needs of individual children because symptoms of autism range broadly, from children with social skill deficiencies to others that might require toilet training.
Because the state of Ohio doesn’t require insurance companies to provide coverage for autistic children, CCA tries to help families acquire the services they need to improve the lives of their children, such as helping them with access to scholarships, providing them with sponsors and providing a 10-week summer camp.
Tipkemper says that no matter what a family’s financial status, CCA can always provide assistance. “For families that can't afford care, we try to put them in contact with resources that support them,” she says. “We're not going to shut the door in anyone's face.”
• Attend: The Cincinnati Center for Autism’s signature event, Night of the Stars, takes place at the Oasis Golf and Conference Center, April 21. There is a silent and live auction, $25 endless champagne and variety of other activities to raise money for the CCA. For more information, contact: email@example.com
: Want to make sure an autistic child gets the education and developmental services they need? Sponsor a child today to help defer the cost of services or help pay their way for summer camp.
: the CCA on Facebook.
By Ryan McLendon