AARC Tip of the Month | April 2019 | View as Webpage
Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month
April is Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month! Here are some quick facts that you can share the next time you have a conversation with someone about autism (facts and data from the CDC website ):

What is Autism?
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder. Individuals with autism handle information in their brain differently than others. This means that each individual is unique, both in their strengths and their needs.
  • Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by challenges in social skills, behavior, and communication, however, the impact will be different for each individual.
  • Nearly half (44%) of children identified with ASD have average to above average IQ.

  • 1 in 59 children are estimated to have an autism spectrum disorder, according to research from the Autism & Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The average prevalence is estimated to be 1-2% in Asia, North America and Europe.
  • Autism affects individuals of all race, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
  • Boys are 4 times as likely to be identified with autism than girls.
  • While there is not one specific cause identified, there are many factors that make it more likely for a child to experience an autism spectrum disorder.

Diagnosis & Early Intervention
  • A diagnosis of autism at age 2 is considered reliable, though most children are not diagnosed until after age 4.
  • Research shows that early intervention can improve a child’s development. If you are concerned about your child’s development, check out our Tip of the Month from October for information on diagnosis and next steps.

Successful People Living With Autism
There are everyday people living with autism as successful adults! Finding the right tools and supports can be essential in finding individual success, particularly in the unique communities of Alaska. Here are some examples of individuals with autism who have found their unique version of success. With varying levels of need and ways of communication, they have each found their way in a field that suits them individually.
  • Dr. Temple Grandin - Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, author, speaker, & autism advocate
  • Clay Marzo - professional surfer, involved with Surfers Healing, a non-profit that uses surfing to enhance the lives of people with autism & their families
  • Tracy Thresher & Larry Bissonnette - stars of the documentary “Wretchers & Jabberers,” advocates, artist, consultant
  • Jerry & Mary Newport - authors, internationally recognized speakers & advocates for autism awareness
  • James Durbin - musician, 4th place in the 10th season of American Idol, speaker, in the documentary “Different is the New Normal”
  • Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay - author and advocate who communicates through writing
  • Heather Kuzmich - appeared on America’s Next Top Model, season 9 with 9 CoverGirl of the Week awards
Upcoming Community Events
*Anchorage Walks for Autism - 80s Theme!
TOMORROW! 4/13/19, 12-2 PM | Anchorage
An inclusive event to help raise autism awareness!  More details on our website .

Anchorage Museum Sensory Friendly Access Morning
4/14, 10:30 AM - 12 PM | Anchorage
"Self-directed, drop-in sessions are...opportunities for families and adults who experience a range of developmental and physical disabilities and those on the autism spectrum to visit a specific museum gallery when the museum is closed to the general public. " More details on their website .

Human Ribbon Photo
4/18, 1 PM | Fairbanks
"Join UAF School of Education and the Autism Society of Alaska for Human Ribbon Photo to celebrate autism acceptance month.' More details on their website .

*AARC sponsored event
Resources of the Month
The resources of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for items on the   SESA website , or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at   afreitag@sesa.org   or 907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,   go to the login  page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.   Learn more about ebooks here .
The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a friend to someone with autism
By: Ellen Sabin
Watering Can Press 2006, ISBN: 0975986821
Description: "...offers educational information, conversation-starters, and engaging exercises that invite children to “walk in someone else's shoes” as they learn to treat others the same ways they would like to be treated themselves. While focusing on autism, ultimately, this book teaches broad life lessons about accepting and embracing people’s differences." -Publisher's website.
Destination Friendship: Developing social skills for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or other social challenges
By: Mary Benton et al.; foreword by Brenda Smith Myles
Autism Asperger Pub. Co., 2012. ISBN: 9781934575901
Description: A curriculum for teaching friendship skills using a fun group format. Participants take part in hands-on activities that are geared to their strengths and preferred learning styles.
Friendly facts: A fun, interactive resource to help children explore the complexities of friends and friendship
By: Margaret Anne Carter & Josie Santomauro; foreword by Mary Schlieder
AAPC, 2010. ISBN: 9781934575611
Description: An interactive workbook with activities designed for children with autism spectrum and related disorders to learn how to make and keep friends.
The Friendship Puzzle: Helping kids learn about accepting and including kids with autism
Written by Julie L Coe; inspired by Jennifer Maloni; illustrated by Sondra L. Brassel
Larstan Pub., 2009. ISBN: 9780978918248
Description: Mackenzie wanted to make friends with the new boy in class, but he doesn't respond as she expected, and she doesn't understand why until she learns about autism. For ages 5 to 7 ; for grades kindergarten to 2.
By: Beverly Bishop; illustrated by Craig Bishop
Future Horizons, 2011. ISBN: 9781935274186
Description: Children describe what makes their autistic friend different but also explain the activities at which he excels, in a book with coloring pages and resources for parents and educators on a CD-ROM. For ages 7 to 9 ; for grades 2 to 4.
Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A social thinking guidebook for bright teens & young adults
By: Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke
North River Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780884272021
Description: "This anime-illustrated guidebook is for teens and young adults to read themselves to learn how the social mind is expected to work for us to effectively relate to others at school, at work, in the community and even at home. Since there is relatively little information on how to talk about social information, this book redefines what it means to Òbe socialÓ and it is likely not what you were thinking! New in the 2011 Edition: New chapter: How does a social anxiety mess with a healthy head? Visual cognitive behavioral strategies and related explanation to help kids explore anxiety management after they have increased their social competencies; Spirals of Social Success and Social Failures; Updated chapter related to the Peer-a-mid of friendship - going from casual greeting to bonded and close friends; Removed the wording describing diagnostic categories from front of the book to help teens access it without feeling they are being labeled." - Publisher's website.
That's what's different about me! (DVD): Helping children understand autism spectrum disorders
 Heather McCracken; produced & directed by 2C Visual Communications
AAPC, 2006. ISBN: 193128296X
Description: The program centers around the story of three friends, Crystal, Angela and Freddie, and illustrates how they implement the "seven basic friendship tips" with the guidance of their teachers. Designed for use in classrooms and homes, and is specifically targeted to children ages 3-10. It provides children with information about autism in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner, creating a truly inclusive school environment while teaching a respect for diversity. Autism demystification is central to fostering mutual friendships between children with autism and their peers, siblings and classmates.
Uniquely Wired: A book about autism and its gifts
By Julia Cook; illustrated by Anita DuFalla
Boys Town Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781944882198
Description: Zak has autism, so he sometimes responds to the world around him in unconventional ways. As he describes his point of view, young readers gain a better understanding of his behaviors and learn valuable lessons about patience, tolerance, and understanding.--Publisher. Audience: K-6th grade.
Alaska Autism Resource Center | 866-301-7372 | aarc@sesa.org | www.AlaskaARC.org