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City Of Bloomington Sponsoring Autism Program
Updated March 13, 2014 9:45 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department is sponsoring an autism program titled "Autism Speaks and We Listen, Living with Autism: Diagnosis, Education and Treatment."

The program will be held on Tuesday, April 1 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. The program is free of charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The event will include a panel discussion with experts in the field of autism. Chief Executive Officer Susan Rinne of LifeDesigns, Inc, an agency that provides services to people with disabilities, will moderate the discussion. Speakers include Dr. Dan Kennedy, Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego; Fritz Kruggel, Director of Behavior Supports for Indiana Mentor; Kristie Brown Lofland, Educational Consultant at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University; Mari Shawcroft, Coordinator of Behavior Support Services at Stone Belt; and Adria Nassim, a person living with autism spectrum disorder who received a degree in English from Brescia University, Owensboro, KY. The program will be followed by a question and answer session.

About one out of every 88 children in the United States currently have autism and about 36,500 of every four million children born each year in the United States will have autism. More people than ever before are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, but it is not clear why. Some of this increase could be due to a broader definition of autism, better efforts in diagnosis or greater awareness of symptoms. Research shows that some groups are at higher-than-normal risk for the disorder. Data shows that boys are four to five times more likely than girls to have it. Among families that have one child with autism, there is a 2% to 8% chance that another sibling will as well.

Autism spectrum disorder commonly occurs with other disorders, such as fragile x syndrome (an inherited condition characterized by an X chromosome that is abnormally susceptible to damage) and tuberous sclerosis (a genetic disorder that causes non-malignant tumors to form in many different organs). Babies born extremely preterm and children of older parents are at higher risk. More research is needed to better understand why these factors increase autism.

For more information regarding the program, please contact Health Projects Manager Nancy Woolery at 349.3851.

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