On March 27, 2014, the CDC released new data indicating that 1 in 68 children has autism or a related disorder.
Below is the heartfelt reaction from Heather Showalter, a local autism services professional.
When my colleague called me with the new prevalence data, my heart sank. When I began in this field, autism was truly a rare condition, and I never encountered autism outside of the walls of the state institution where I educated teens with severe autism.
I have seen this change as my career has progressed, as I met autism in public school regular education classrooms, in the community, and then last year, my best friend’s son was diagnosed with ASD. In a million years I would have never guessed this epidemic rate of prevalency could come to pass in just 22 years.
I never stop thinking about how this disorder impacts the affected and their families and friends. I am ALWAYS so appreciative and very inspired by the local work that is done in awareness.
– Heather Showalter, Director of Program Services, The Hughes Center
Heather was a member of the planning team of the inaugural Dan River Autism Awareness 5k in 2012. She continues to be an active participant and an advocate for individuals with autism as a member of The Hughes Center’s team. We are grateful for Heather’s leadership in the autism services field in the Danville area, and for her contributions to the Autism Awareness 5k.