To our CARES community, friends, and supporters-
April is Autism Awareness Month! However, this year the Autism Society of America is encouraging a shift from Awareness to "Autism Acceptance Month." Moving forward, the autism community wants to highlight the importance of language in their ongoing effort to #CelebrateDifferences and normalize neurodiversity. You can read more about the growing call for acceptance as well as the 2021 #CelebrateDifferences campaign here. Although we may be unable to participate in traditional activities, you can still raise awareness and acceptance over social media, honor your lived experiences, and don’t forget to light it up blue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd.
What’s Going on at Fred Finch CARES this Month?
Early Intervention is Key
Like with many treatments, Early Intervention is key for children diagnosed or considered at risk for ASD. All children should receive check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits.
Recently, the Office of the California Surgeon General and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) collaborated on an Early Start public service announcement to stress the importance of screening and offer resources for families and you can check it out here.
Popular Sensory Tools and How They Can Help
Sensory difficulties can play a huge role in the development of children and contribute to struggles those with ASD experience in their daily lives. Stimulating a child’s senses with sensory toys and activities can be effective to facilitate learning, build on the child’s skills, and support their overall development. The best part is that sensory toys and activities allow us to target proprioceptive, vestibular, auditory, visual, oral, tactile, and motor learning skills through fun, enjoyable, and safe ways in the child’s natural environment. In addition, sensory toys and activities can help children regulate their bodies, promote relation, and body awareness.
While sensory toys and activities do not replace evidence-based treatment for autism disorders, they can help! Learn more about some of the best sensory toys and gifts for children with autism here.
COVID VACCINE NOW AVAILABLE TO FAMILY CAREGIVERS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
California families with children with autism or developmental delays received great news this month- Caregivers are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19!
Family members who take care of children with developmental disabilities are recognized as caregivers alongside health care workers and are eligible to receive a vaccination at any site. To qualify, caregivers must receive an individualized letter from the Regional Center, to present during their vaccination appointment. These strict guidelines and need for proof of eligibility were put in place after it was reported that access to the vaccine was being exploited by people who do not qualify. An NPR segment covering this story can be found here.
In addition, effective March 15,2021, Regional Center consumers ages 16-64 may also qualify to receive the vaccine should they meet eligibility. Contact your assigned Regional Center for more information. You can read the directive from the Department of Developmental Services here.
You can find a location that has vaccines in stock at VaccineFinder.
Fred Finch CARES offers services in four counties in Southern California- San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and Orange County. Services include ABA and a variety of Mental Health services.
For more information about Fred Finch CARES, or to inquire about our services, please visit our website: www.fredfinch.org/CARES