April / June 2017
By Ahsley Gillespie
Since becoming an autism advocate, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the daily struggles of, not only the kids affected by autism, but their families as well. Many parents don’t have the resources or the training necessary to help their kids reach their highest potential. Through my advocacy, I have noticed that there is a lack of specific educational programs for children with autism, which leaves some parents worried about their child’s future. My heart aches when I see families struggle because I know much more can be done. The first step is education. Do you recognize the ABC’s of Autism?
A: Autism - What is it?
When people refer to Autism, they are usually talking about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to the Autism Science Foundation, Autism is a “brain-based disorder characterized by social-communication challenges and restricted repetitive behaviors, activities and interests.”
B: Biological Factors - What are they?
According to UC San Diego School of Medicine, “most but not all children with the disorder experience a sudden increase in brain size around their first birthday.” This relationship between the brain overgrowth and severity of symptoms is not completely clear, but is currently being researched.
C: Common - How Common is Autism?
Did you know that 1 out of 68 children in the United States have been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder?1 This is more prevalent than breast cancer or childhood diabetes!2 It is reported that Autism is 5 times more common in boys than girls.
Children’s Oasis Foundation: I am excited for the next journey that I am taking in my life. Recently, I have created a non-profit organization called Children’s Oasis Foundation. We will offer Parenting and sibling support classes, counseling and respite care. We will use a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on social, communication and academic skills. I envision a partnership with local business in hopes of transiting the kids to community living. My main goal for the school is to empower our students to find their purpose and to be their best version of themselves.
Please join us for our walk and family celebration on May 13th in League City. Find us on Facebook for more information or donate at @childrensoasisfoundation.