April is Autism Awareness Month, and Tuesday, April 2nd, is World Autism Day.
As the case is with so many medical conditions, the earlier a child gets properly diagnosed, the better the outcome can be proper treatment, but Four State residents don’t have to take their children far to get that help.
Autism is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.
What is known about the disease is that it continues to to occur at an increasingly alarming rate.
The C.D.C. says autism impacts 1 in 58 children now, an increase of 30 percent from just 2012.
The Joplin area is fotunate to be home to the Leffen Center for Autism.
Unfortunately, clinical director Kristy Parker says the main cause of the increase remains a mystery.
Parker says, “Certainly the research continues to point to genetic factors as well as potential environmental factors and there’s just not a known cause”
Parker says some of the increase is due to better diagnosis, and that leads to quicker intervention.
Lynn Morgan wishes the Center would have been around when her son Colton was younger, but says it’s a blessing to have it in the community now.
Morgan says, “There’s people, we have family members in other states that don’t have the support we do here in Joplin, um matter of fact some of them have asked about moving down here so they would have more services”
The original Center was opened in 2007 but was destroyed in the 2011 tornado but has since been rebuilt.