Children with autism hurdle life’s challenges

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Individuals who may have autism may face certain challenges in certain areas, but health professionals say they are as just as capable as anyone.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that affects how a person communicates, interacts with others and learns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 54 children have been identified with ASD. April is Autism Awareness Month.

“Applied Behavioral Analysis where we look at an identified behavior or an identified target,” said Rob Angus, board certified behavior analyst. “So it’s looking at that and breaking it down and figuring out what intervention we can use to most appropriately address that.”

Tausha Beck, whose son has autism, says he works hard just like anyone else, including joining Terre Haute North High School’s unified track and field team.

“The teacher in his functional class is the coach for the unified track. So, she’s the one that talked us into it. I was a nervous wreck because he’s never done anything like that,” said Beck. “Never thought Jeremy would be able to go and participate in sorts and he actually can letter in this.”

Harsha Autism Center works with children to develop them in key areas.

“Some of the key areas that we focus on are improving communication skills, improving social skills and if there happens to be any restrictive or repetitive behaviors or negative behaviors like aggression,” said Angus. “Especially when it comes to communication and social skills, those I’ve seen pretty much across the board that improve.”

Even though they may have different challenges than the average person, individuals who work with children with ASD say they just want to be like everyone else.

“So many people just don’t understand autism — they don’t understand you know they’re people just like us,” said Beck. “They want to be accepted just like us.”

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