April is Autism Awareness Month

National Autism Awareness Month graphic with puzzle pieces

According to the CDC (2014) 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Newer research survey suggest 1 in 45 children. It affects more boys than girls at a rate of 5 to 1 which is why the color blue was chosen for Autism Awareness.

Autism Spectrum is a neurodevelopmental disorder which causes significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. To present day there is no known cause or cure for Autism. There are numerous theories about the causes of Autism, but none which have been proven.

How does Autism affect our local communities?  

Here are some numbers from 2011:

  • In Elk County, there were 119 individuals who have an autism diagnosis who received some sort of autism service.
  • In Cameron County, there were 18 individuals who have an autism diagnosis who received some sort of autism service.
  • In Potter County, there were 59 individuals who have an autism diagnosis who received some sort of autism service.
  • In McKean County there were 175 individuals who have an autism diagnosis who received some sort of autism service.

Dickinson Center recognized the need for evaluation and treatment for Autism in this rural area, and the program has grown over the many years. Early identification and intervention for the disorder increases the opportunity for improvement in severity of symptoms, and reduces the life long cost of care by 2/3.

 

February is Trauma Informed Care Month

What is Trauma-Informed Care?

  • An appreciation for the high prevalence of traumatic experience in persons who receive mental health, physical health, and substance abuse services.
  • A thorough understanding of the profound neurological, biological, psychological, and social effects of trauma and violence on the individual.
We need to presume the clients we serve have a history of traumatic stress and
exercise “universal precautions” by creating systems of care that are trauma-informed.
(Hodas, 2005)

What is trauma?

Trauma is the experience of violence and victimization including sexual abuse,
physical abuse, severe neglect, loss, domestic violence, and/or the witnessing of
violence, terrorism or disasters. ~ (NASMHPD, 2006)
 

Dickinson Center, Inc. embraces the trauma-informed care model.
Trauma-Informed Care is all about “changing the culture of an organization.”

 

Principles of a Trauma-Informed Care Organization:

  • Secure environment with supportive care
  • Consumer voice, choice, and advocacy
  • Calm
  • Healing
  • Safe
  • Hopeful
  • Honest
  • Cultural competence
  • Trusting relationships
  • System-wide understanding of trauma prevalance, impact, and trauma-informed care
  • Recovery, consumer-driven and trauma-specific services