April is National Autism Awareness Month. The original goal of the designation reaches back to the 1970’s as medical professionals and parents sought to educate the public about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its effects on people’s lives. Fifty years later, the need for awareness and stigma reduction has never been more relevant. Recent reports indicate that 1 in 44 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with ASD – boys being four times more likely than girls to experience autism.
As the largest provider of mental health and disability services in Dallas County, Metrocare recognizes the need by maintaining two dedicated clinics. Last year, the Centers for Children with Autism at Metrocare (CCAM) served 140 individual kids. While other admirable providers also strive to meet the need, Metrocare is one of the few that accepts Medicaid for Applied Behavior Analysis. This means our clinics and therapists are making “gold standard” treatments accessible to historically underserved populations. In other words, CCAM is filling the gap where families, in the past, have fallen through the cracks.
Research clearly indicates that early intervention affords the best opportunity for people with ASD to develop and grow. This is why CCAM’s contribution to the behavioral health landscape cannot be understated. As there is no medical detection of autism to date, parents often feel confused by unexplained developmental challenges regarding communication and socialization. These children require expert treatment and support.
Therefore, Metrocare enthusiastically supports National Autism Awareness Month. We believe it matters! Additionally, it also happens to align with our upcoming 14th Annual Meal for the Minds Luncheon. Featured speaker, Holly Robinson Peete, is a fierce advocate for autism as her son was diagnosed at the age of 3. As awareness of ASD increases, opportunities for intervention, treatment, and support also increase. And Metrocare desires to do our part. We care. Find yourself here.
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