Health & Safety

April 13, 2012

Airman and Family Readiness Center increases Autism Awareness

By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Courtesy graphic

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted a free bi-monthly class to support Autism Awareness April 11 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The class comes at a critical time during the Month of the Military Child and offers Air Force families a better picture of the struggle military families face when it comes to dealing with Autism.

The three-hour course is hosted by the A&FRC with support from the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Department of Special Education. The program provides participants information about characteristics, diagnostic criteria and intervention strategies.

Two doctors from UNLV spoke about Autism. The doctors’ main focus was to talk about different strategies and techniques that parents could use for children with Autism.

“They also talked about some of the new developments, said Stephanie Garnes, 99th Force Support Squadron family support coordinator.” Since the definition for Autism is changing, these doctors provided some of the updates for those changes.”

These updates were geared towards understanding Autism and early detection. Children who receive an early diagnosis benefit by quickly receiving the care required, noted Garnes.

The course covers different categories for children who are four to six months old and who are 12 to 24 months old. Each category explains symptoms parents can look for, which may help diagnosis children sooner. Doctors from UNLV provided a question and answer segment for participants to ask questions that may not have been answered throughout the class.

The doctors also discussed symptoms to look for like, for children six to 12 months.

“If the child is not responding or making eye contact, that could be a symptom,” Garnes said.

“There is no cost,” Garnes said, and she encourages friends and family members to attend any of the next scheduled classes even if their family doesn’t have an autistic family member, and by sharing information offered in the classes, it may help others get an early diagnosis of a child with Autism.

For more information on Autism Awareness courses, contact the A&FRC at (702)652-3327.

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