April is Autism Awareness Month

Published 5:01 pm Saturday, March 29, 2014

I am looking forward to April for many reasons. The first being the promise of warmer weather. I guess that is more of a hope than a promise, but I will hold tight to that hope.

The other reason is April is Autism Awareness month, which allows me to highlight the programming that the Hormel Historic Home offers to those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in our community. The Autism Resource Specialist in our area says there are more than 100 diagnosed young people on the autism spectrum in Mower County. One in 88 kids are diagnosed nationally and boys are four to five times more prone to the condition than girls.

According to the Autism Society of America, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a ‘spectrum disorder’” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism.”

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The HHH is committed to serving those affected by Autism because it is a growing concern in our community and because there have been few Autism specific opportunities available in the past. In April, the HHH will partner with Austin Community Education to offer three seminars designed to educate and inform people about autism issues. The sessions will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Hormel Historic Home.  Cost is $10 per seminar.

On Tuesday, April 8, “Transition Resources for Families and Older Students” will be presented by Sara Gilberg and Erin Dilley-Jones. Erin is the area Autism Specialist and Sara is the work base coordinator and director of the On Track Lab, which is a new Austin Public Schools program working to help youth with disabilities gain job skills.

On Tuesday, April 15, Mary Ellen Rooney and Dan Marreel will present “Story Grammar Markers,” a strategy for professionals working with students in third- through eighth-grades. This strategy can be used to help learners improve reading comprehension, writing, speaking and social skills.

“Strategies for Including and Embracing People with Autism in Our Community” will be taught on Tuesday, April 22, by Karianne Bachmeier.  Bachmeier is a special education teacher in the Austin school district who will present helpful ideas on how to include children with Autism in settings such as Sunday schools, dance classes, and community events.

Please call Community Education at 507-460-1706 to register for these sessions or go online to http://austin.revtrak.net.

The HHH Autism Programming is part of our Educational Mission. The summer camps are partially funded by the United Way of Mower County and the Hormel Foundation.  If you would like more information or to contribute to the programming please contact Holly at 507-433-4243.

 UN Recognized World Autism Awareness Day

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Show support for your friends and family affected by Autism by wearing blue or spreading awareness to those around you.

 Hy-Vee Round-Up Day

Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Round your purchase up to the next dollar amount and support the Autism programming at the HHH.

 Social Concerns Presented by Spruce Up Austin

Tuesday, April 15, 10 to 11 a.m., free.

Gretchen Ramlo, organization President, will share the accomplishments Spruce Up has had in the last 25 years and what they have planned for the future. Please call to let us know you are coming.

Stepping Out for Autism Walk

Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bandshell Community Park

Teams are forming now for the annual fundraising walk to support the Summer Camps offered by the HHH for area youth affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Visit www.hormelhistorichome.org to print your registration form. Lunch (free will offering accepted) will be offered at 11 a.m. and Koo Koo Kanga Roo will perform at 11:30 a.m.