April Autism Awareness Month is in full swing, and local autism advocates Hope For Three is hitting the streets to spread the Power of Three: Awareness, Action and Acceptance. Organizers say the Power of Three are a must to help children with autism thrive and live the best life possible.
In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day in perpetuity, and the entire month has become April Autism Awareness Month. Hope For Three, founded in 2011, vowed its first celebration of April Autism Awareness Month in 2012 would reach countywide and beyond. Today, the organization continues to garner the support of Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert and all 18 City mayors, whereby each proclaims the month of April Autism Awareness Month and encourages their city to not only support Hope For Three and its mission, but join millions around the world to turn their lights blue or wear blue. “Light it Up Blue” is the Autism Awareness Campaign ignited by Autism Speaks and supported by autism organizations and advocates worldwide.
“Autism is a very complex disorder,” said Darla Farmer, founder and executive director of Hope For Three. “We recognize that for this community to take action and give unconditional acceptance to autism families, they must be aware and educated about autism spectrum disorder. Among the many ways we bring awareness is through events such as Car Wash for Kids, Strike Out Autism, the Annual Luncheon and Golf Fore Autism, It’s Cool to Care, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and our parent empowerment group H.O.P.E., which stands for Helping Our Parents Excel.”
Although Autism Awareness Month is recognized worldwide during the month of April, Hope For Three said it “lives its mission 365 days a year.” To date, the organization has provided with the help of generous donors, grantors and volunteers nearly $500,000 in financial assistance to help bridge the gap between families and autism service providers. Many therapies that are needed for children on the autism spectrum are not covered by insurance. If insurance does cover cost, it is often with a limited number of sessions. Statistics note it costs more than $60,000 per year to care for a child with autism. There is no cure for autism, but early diagnosis is key.
Autism is the fastest growing children’s disorder. As many autism families know all too well, autism spectrum disorder is not going away. It is not a death sentence. Children on the spectrum may be uniquely different but not less. Autism acceptance is a crucial component in building relationships, whether through therapy, education, on the playground or in a church, store or restaurant.
For more infomation, visit www.hopeforthree.org or call 281-245-0640.