Brendan Schneider, 8, of Washington Township, pushes an over-sized ball over to his father, Tom Schneider of Washington Township while playing in a room before a ribbon cutting ceremony at Play-Place for Autistic Children in Sterling Heights on Friday September 9, 2016. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
An estimated one out of every 68 children is being diagnosed with autism, according to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control.
That was up 30 percent from the previous estimate in 2012. With more and more people being diagnosed with autism, it’s important to learn to how to best support them.
On Thursday, April 26, autism expert, author and speaker Alyson Beytien will speak at St. Clair County Community Mental Health on ways to support people with autism. Beytien ‘s presentation is at 6 p.m. April 26 at St. Clair County Community Mental Health, 3111 Electric Ave., Port Huron. It is free and open to the public.
Beytien raised three children with autism and went on to become a board certified behavior analyst and get a master’s degree in autism spectrum disorders from the University of Kansas. Now she works as a behavior analyst for Hills and Dales inDubuque, Iowa.
“With the three of them having the diagnosis, I had to figure out how to be their mother,” Beytien said.
Beytien wrote “Autism Every Day: Over 150 Strategies Lived and Learned by a Professional Autism Consultant with 3 Sons on the Spectrum.”
The main presentation is titled “What Do I Do Tomorrow? Five Key Steps for Supporting A Person with Autism,” and deals with strategies to accommodate autism in the areas of communication, social interaction, sensory processing and more.
“They’re helpful to any level of the spectrum,” Beytien said.
She added that her presentations mainly focus on practical advice that can be implemented immediately.
“I’m more about ‘how do we get to tomorrow?'” Beytien said. “‘You can do this tomorrow’ kind of things.”
The county CMH invited Beytien after some of the organization’s staff saw her presentation at a Michigan Association of CMH Boards conference.
“Her experience as a board certified behavior analyst, speaker, author and mother of three children with autism provides real-life strategies to promote independence and success for students with autism,” St. Clair County CMH Executive Director Debra Johnson wrote in an email.
Johnson also pushed back on the misconception that autism is a “hopeless condition.”
“The diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases completely overcome,” Johnson wrote. “Individuals with autism can live full, meaningful lives and contribute to their communities.”
She said that studies have determined that there is no link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
“For some, (autism diagnosis) may correspond with the timing of their child’s vaccinations; however, it can also be linked by environmental influences, pregnancy and birth complications, advanced parent age, or pregnancies spaced less than one year apart,” Johnson wrote.
Beytien will also give another presentation intended for health professionals starting at 2 p.m. called “Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Teen Years.”
Contact education reporter Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6276 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy.
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