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The Developmental Disabilities Institute Commemorates Autism Awareness Month

Written by Julie Grilli  |  05. May 2011

Individuals served by the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), a leading service provider for children and adults with autism on Long Island, and staff members created a banner to commemorate Autism Awareness Month this April. Over thirty individuals from DDI's Riverhead Day Habilitation Program worked together to pay tribute to a disorder affecting 1 in every 110 children. DDI's Day Habilitation Programs serve adults with developmental disabilities and autism. Services are provided in a variety of locations each of which provides slightly different supports and services based on the physical environment and level of clinical supports available. Clinical supports including psychology, social work, recreation therapy, nursing and speech therapy are provided at some Day Habilitation Programs locations and are based on individual needs. Individuals from the Riverhead location came together this past month to give recognition to Autism Awareness Month by creating a banner. The banner featuring all of their handprints will remain hanging in the building for all to see. Autism is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is typically diagnosed before the age of three. Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. While the cause of autism remains a mystery, current research suggests that both genetics and environment play a role. Autism varies widely in its severity and symptoms and can range from those who are nonverbal with severe challenges to individuals on the high-functioning end of the spectrum who are extremely intelligent with good expressive verbal language, but impaired social skills who would be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the alarming rate of autism is 1 in every 110 births and a child is diagnosed on the spectrum. ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and are four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. When autism is detected earlier and appropriate intervention is taken, children with ASD can become more functional and learn to adapt to the world around them. No matter the age of the diagnosis, children and adults with ASD are constant learners and significant improvements can be made at any age. DDI is a not-for-profit agency headquartered in Smithtown, NY, with more than 30 locations throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Serving nearly 1,000 children and adults with a diagnosis of an autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), DDI is the largest provider of services for individuals with Autism on Long Island. It provides educational, vocational, and residential programs, as well as medical and dental services for over 5,000 children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI also operates family-centered preschool programs for both children with disabilities as well as typically developing students. DDI was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the special educational and therapeutic needs of their children with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI is a member agency of the United Way of Long Island. For more information about DDI, visit www.ddiinfo.org.

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