Director of Development: Autism isn’t always obvious, be aware

Local News

Autism Awareness Month is more important than ever at one non-profit who is calling on parents to look at the signs.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — You’ll be seeing Lamar billboards this April all throughout our area with a shade of blue this Autism Awareness Month and one non-profit is leading the charge.

After being displaced from a fire, and then a pandemic closure, opening up the new facility has been a huge milestone for the Augusta Levy Learning Center and parents are ecstatic to have their kids back in a routine.

Augusta Levy currently serves 28 children but the center wants all parents to learn the signs of autism, such as repetitive behaviors, lack of eye-contact and non-verbal interactions. 

The director says it’s important our community be aware. 

This pandemic has been harsh to children with autism and when you know the signs, grace comes easier. 

When you see a child having what they would describe as a meltdown, or a behavior out in public, or not wanting to wear a mask, just be a little bit more sensitive and think about the underlying causes. Because, when you see a child with autism, they don’t necessarily look like there’s anything wrong. A lot of them look like they’re typically developing children.

Staci Stephen, Director of Development at Augusta Levy Learning Center

There’s a new playground designed for students with special needs at the center and now kids can head to the after-school program to get some one-on-one help with a behavior technician. 

The pandemic stopped fundraisers, so this nonprofit is looking to the over 140 businesses ready to help sell puzzle pieces for $1 each. 

Fat Apple in Bridgeport is hosting a Carmel Apple Fundraiser and selling blue-coated apples also with the signature puzzle piece. Those orders can be made on the Augusta Levy Facebook page. 

Finally, all the Ohio Valley is encouraged to ‘Light Up Blue’ is this Friday, April 2, for Autism Awareness Day. 

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