The first National Autism Awareness Month was declared by the Autism Society in April 1970. The sixth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2013.
The aim of this month is educate the public about autism. Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause. The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates that an average of 1 in 50 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder.
First opened on November 11, 2010, the Autism Resource Center at Lancaster Public Library was the first of its kind housed in a U.S. public library. Even now, only a very small number of public libraries offer unique autism resources collections.
To highlight National Autism Awareness Month, the Autism Resource Center and our Children and Teen Services and Adult Services Departments offer a range of informative and entertaining autism-relevant April programs. These include:
- First Friday for Families: April 5th at 6pm • All Ages: "The Brilliance of Autism - See Our True Colors" by The Children of Lancaster County Autism Mommies.
- Sensory-friendly Movie- "Toy Story" April 9th at 6pm: A sensory-friendly film screening with reduced volume and turned-up lights. Kids are welcoming to move around, talk, and sing during the screening. Light snacks provided.
- Artism: April 13th & 27th at 10:30am: Certified teacher Nora Joyce leads activities, crafts, and games for children on the Autism spectrum. Spanish speakers are welcome at this program - se habla español.
- Read a Dog a Book: April 20th at 2pm: A child reads for 15 minutes with a volunteer and therapy dog from K-PETS. This program is provided for children on the Autism spectrum in 1st-4th grade.
- Autism Basics Speaker: April 25th at 6:30pm: Find out more about the Autism Spectrum. Social, cognitive, and language delays will also be discussed. There will be a question and answer portion to the program.
Help us celebrate National Autism Awareness Month by stopping in at the unique Autism Resource Center on your next visit to the Lancaster Public Library. It is a special resource unique to our community that is worth checking out.