Teachers at Foran Hope to Spread Light on Autism

A Look at Autism Awareness Day


Madison Ballard

The Room Where it Happens: Special Education room at Foran, in which Special Education students find tools to grow and thrive, February 1, 2023.

          In the month of April, a common diagnosis affecting more than 200,000 Americans every year is recognized (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html). Autism Awareness Day helps bring attention to those who lie on the broad spectrum of autism. 

          Autism occurs in one out of every 68 children. Boys tend to be more susceptible to this disorder than girls. People with autism may have issues with social connection, communication, and have limited or recurring interests or activities. 

          In their first several months, some newborns display these characteristics of autism, and some people don’t show such signs until they are two or three. However, not all autistic children exhibit all of the symptoms. Many kids who have autism display only some of these characteristics. 

          Some characteristics of autism may be dismissed as something like social anxiety, when in fact it may be autism. In some cases, it could be very hard to tell if someone is autistic or not. This is because they can live a completely masked life where they are just as talented as the vast majority of a group–if not more unique than the collective. 

           Special education department teacher Ms. Melissa Kaminski explains, “I think it’s important for people to know that autism displays differently for everyone who has it. It’s a unique condition and there are no known causes.”

          There is no cure for autism, but there are ways to help improve social skills. There are numerous types of therapies to help students in school (as well as many other public/personal spaces) to manage symptoms and develop independence skills. 

          Mrs. Katie Furdeck, another teacher who works in the special education department, states, “The social skills, life skills, and work-study classes that are offered to our students are crucial to their success. We develop and implement lessons to help our students prepare for the future.”

          The staff in the special education department are excited for the future potential of the students at Foran to recognize this day. 

          Children with autism can have a special advantage in their learning abilities. According to WebMd.com, approximately 84% of children with hyperlexia have autism. This allows them to read at a much earlier age than someone without autism. Not only can some people with autism understand comprehension better, they also are amazing logical thinkers, excellent at memorizing, and excel at learning information quickly. 

          Autism spans throughout a large spectrum. Parts of this spectrum, such as autism spectrum disorder, include cases of impaired communication, reciprocal social interaction, and repetitive patterns of behaviors or interests (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/).

          Miriam Serrano, a mother of two sons with autism, states, “[Autism Awareness Day] helps us because it gives a way to communicate better with autistic people. This helps unlock the mystery of autism, and the fact that autistic people are humans too.”