HCN News & Notes

Basketball Hall of Fame, CHD Recognize Autism Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD — Much as pink is associated with breast-cancer awareness, blue is the color connected with awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of complex disorders of brain development. To help spread ASD awareness, the Basketball Hall of Fame is turning the light on its enormous basketball completely blue at 5 p.m. on April 1-4 as part of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign for Autism Awareness Month in April.

ASD affects more than 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism.

“Autism Awareness Month activities help to create an environment of learning and sharing to keep the discussion of ASD disorders open and ongoing,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president, Development for the Center for Human Development (CHD). Through its Early Intervention program, CHD is actively involved in ASD screening and helping to identify those red flags, and works with infants and children from birth to age 3 in Springfield, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham and Hampden who have, or are at risk for, developmental delays. A CHD team can assess a child’s abilities, and, if indicated, work to develop an individualized plan to promote development of play, movement, social-emotional behavior, communication, and self-care skills.

“We work with children and their families in their most natural environment. We are excited that the Hall of Fame is helping to Light It Up Blue and keep the conversation about autism going,” said Erinne Gorneault, program director, Early Intervention.

To learn more about CHD or for more information on available supports and services, call Gorneault at (413) 733-6624.