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Cause of the Week: Make Friends with Autism

The tagline for Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey says it all: Regular kids…Special Care.

The hospital specializes in treating children with neurological problems ranging from brain injuries to autism.

The hospital, with the support of Kohl’s Department Stores, has set up a model program to help communities and businesses understand autism and make it easier for parents and children to participate in all the activities that other children do, from getting a hamburger at McDonald’s to trying on new shoes at the mall.

Now, Children’s Specialized Hospital has set up a program and website to spread the word that autistic kids are just like other kids…when we understand them, and provide the help they may need.

Make Friends with Autism promotes autism awareness and the successful inclusion of people with autism and their families in the community. The bi-lingual program and website:

  • Provides useful information about Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Helps families prepare for safe and successful community outings, and
  • Facilitates positive relationships between individuals with autism and businesses, recreation providers, and other community members.

The new website has all the materials to start one’s own community outreach project, including:

  • A 20-minute documentary that is streamed on the website
  • Training resources for businesses and recreation providers
  • Commonly used terms, frequently asked questions, and applicable laws
  • Parent and caregiver resources to help prepare for community outings
  • Personal and travel safety information
  • Visual aides to help with preparation for getting out in the community
  • A picture communication tool
  • Organization resources and contacts
  • Coloring pages, games, puzzles, and more

Autism is found within every racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic group. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 100 children in the United States has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Isn’t it time we all get to know about autism and do our share to help communities destigmatize these children? Start by watching the streaming video at Make Friends with Autism .

Learn more about Kohl’s Corporate Responsibility Program.

Photo courtesy of Children’s Specialized Hospital

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Cause of the Week: Make Friends with Autism originally appeared on About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 at 06:00:46.

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