April Is Autism Awareness Month

Each April, we commemorate Autism Awareness Month. At this time we make a special effort to shed light on the issues facing those who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. The community is at its best when everyone works together to ensure their neighbors are able to lead a happy and successful lifestyle. Few areas in the state exemplify that like the Finger Lakes Region.
The Autism Society states that ASD is a complex developmental disability defined by certain behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Working together to ensure programs that help those with ASD are adequately funded, we can create a better community for everyone.
It is of the utmost importance that we support organizations that help those in need. Over the years, I have worked closely with the Happiness House and Ontario ARC. Dedicating my time to advocate for and on behalf of those with developmental disabilities has proven to be a truly rewarding experience.
Lawmakers in Albany must do their best to strengthen programs that support people with autism, as well as the developmentally disabled. It is our duty to ensure that the people in our communities are able to reach their greatest potential. In the spirit of Autism Awareness Month, I encourage you to learn more about ASD and the people it affects by participating in events that benefit those with autism.
The Happiness House is holding its fifth annual Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday, April 25 at Eastview Mall in Victor. It will kick off at the Food Court Entrance No. 5 from 8 - 9:30 a.m. I encourage everyone to participate in the walk and help one of our area’s truly special organizations.
Leading the walk this year is Jeremiah Iheoma of Farmington, the inspiring 11-year-old author of “My Super Life with Autism.” Jeremiah is the honorary chair of the event, which aims to raise awareness during National Autism Awareness Month. To learn more, visit http://www.happinesshouse.org/news/events.aspx or call the Happiness House Geneva office at 315-789-6828 (Administration) or toll free at 866-408-2550.
The Ontario ARC is another great not-for-profit working to provide comprehensive services to those dealing with developmental disabilities, including autism. On Thursday, April 30, I will attend a special event featuring Carrie Cariello, a nationally-renowned speaker and author, who will discuss her personal story as the parent of an autistic child.
The event is open to the public and will be held from 6 - 8 p.m. in the Ontario County ARC facility at 3071 County Complex Drive in Canandaigua.  For more information or to register, visit http://ontarioarc.org/news/what-color-is-monday/ or call Donna Auria, Director of Community Relations, at 585-919-2191.
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, e-mail me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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