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Children & Adults With Disabilities: Autism

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Children & Adults with Disabilities: Autism

The topic of disabilities strikes many people in today's society in different ways. There are so many different disabilities such as blindness, retardation, learning, medical and deaf. These are just a handful; the list goes on and on.

According to the Random House College Dictionary disability is defined as "Lack of competent power, strength or physical or mental ability; incapacity" (Stein, 1980, p. 376).

For decades people with disabilities have struggled. They have been seen as hopeless, useless burdens to society. They get people starring at the, making rude remarks, feeling sorry for them or even acts of violence towards them. "For the most part people with disabilities believe that terms such as differently abled, physically challenged and handi- capable are not sincere" (Kent & Quinlan, 1996, p. 11).

People with disabilities are just like any other person. They go to school, have jobs, have families and enjoy hobbies. Just like any other average person, some are educated and some are uneducated.

These people are viewed through society and the media as either positive or negative note. For example, in movies the media usually exploits people with disabilities as needing help. Prejudicial and stereo typing images are usually presented. There are many famous people with disabilities such as Stevie Wonder who was a blind musician, Helen Keller who was deaf and blind and earned a college degree despite the fact that she had these disabilities, Jerry Lewis who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy and not to forget Heather Whitestone who was deaf and was Miss America in 1995.

"The desire to pamper the disabled can lead to us to do everything for him, deciding what he wears, what he eats and how he spends his time" (Coombs, 1984, p. 69). It is often so tempting to help these people because one sees them struggling, more so with children and the elderly. Children will not learn if one does not teach them. They must be taught to enable them to function as an adult.

There are so many programs out there today for children and adults with disabilities, more so than in the past. One particular one that comes to mind when I think of someone with disabilities is Easter Seals.

"Easter Seals has been helping children and adults with and special needs, and their families for over 80 years" ( It is a non-governmental agency that assists more than 1 million children and adults nationwide. Some of it's primary services are camping and recreation, child care, physical therapy, hearing therapy, job training and speech.

Another program is Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) it offers medical services to young adults and children. "You can ask for counseling and therapy as often as once a week or more if you think you need it" (pamphlet, 2004, EPSDT).

I researched the Easter Seals Project ACTION (Accessible Community Transportation In Our Nation). This group was created to provide accessible transportation for people with disabilities in our Country.

The group was started in 1987; it has funded 84 innovative demonstration and research initiatives to communities throughout our Nation. It is a Non-profit Organization and receives it's funding through donations and the government. "Congress approved a $3 million for Project Action For fiscal 2006" " Easter Seals worked with congress to create Project Action because we believe we can achieve more progress through cooperation than confrontation" (

The movement to secure accessible transportation in this nation has been on the rise for the past few years. Many of the affiliates Easter Seals worked with Paralyzed Veterans of America and The American Public Transit Association and many other organizations.

A man founded Easter Seals in 1919 by the name of Edgar Allen, who lost his son to a streetcar accident. In 1934 a cartoonist invented the birth of the seal by the name of JH Donahey. Easter seals can be reached online at or 230 West Monroe Street, Suite 1800, Chicago, IL 60606. Telephone 1(800) 221-6827.

One disability that I am gong to focus on is Autism. Autism is a complex developmental disability that usually appears during the first three years of life. Children and adults with Autism typically have difficulty in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure and play activities. It is one of five disorders coming under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). "Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism". "Males are more likely to have autism than females" (



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