Government

Byram Township Proclaims April As Autism Awareness Month; Employees and Residents Encouraged To Participate In Activities In Order To Spread Awareness

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Members of the Byram Township council proclaim April 2013 as Autism Awareness Month. Credits: Alley Shubert
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Kara Valeich, a speech therapist at Byram Lakes Intermediate School discusses individuals who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Credits: Alley Shubert
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BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - The State of New Jersey is ranked second in the nation for percentage of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and one out of 49 children in the state alone are diagnosed with ASD.

Diagnosis of autism has increased 1,000 percent over the last 40 years.
These are just a couple of the many statistics that decorated the Byram Township municipal court at the recent town council meeting on April 2 in honor of April being “Autism Awareness Month.”
 
Colored puzzle pieces with educational information written on them were placed on the walls in order to spread awareness for ASD.
 

“This is our pledge for Autism New Jersey,” said Kara Valeich, a speech therapist at Byram Lakes Intermediate School District, “right now there is no cure for autism and it is our job to educate the public.”
 
Autism New Jersey is an organization that is ready to “build acceptance” statewide.
 
According to the autismnj.org website, “More than 1,000 ambassadors have registered to help us raise awareness all month long. It doesn’t take much to spread an idea or start a conversation that can create a greater understanding and help build acceptance throughout New Jersey for individuals living with autism and their families.”
 
Valeich explained that to raise awareness for individuals living with ASD, Byram Lakes Intermediate will be having a dress down week, a readathon and a Zumbathon taking place on April 26.
 
Byram Township mayor Jim Oscovitch read a proclamation to the council and public stating the following:
 
“Whereas, autism is a pervasive development disorder affecting the social, communication and behavioral skill of those affected by it; and whereas, as more and more health professionals become proficient in diagnosing autism, more children are being diagnosed on the autistic spectrum, resulting in rates as high as one in 88 children nationally and one in 49 in New Jersey; and whereas, while there is no cure for autism, it is well-documented that if an individual with autism receives treatment early in their lives, it is often possible for those individuals to lead significantly improved lives; and whereas, Autism New Jersey is spearheading an awareness effort in order to educate parents, professionals and the general public about autism and its effects. Now, therefore should it be resolved that the Byram Township mayor and council do hereby proclaim April, 2013 as National Autism Awareness Month in the township of Byram, and urge all employees and residents to participate in our municipality’s National Autism Awareness Month activities, in order to become better educated on the subject of autistic spectrum disorders.”
 
Oscovitch then signed the document to make it official.
 
“It is a good time and for a really good cause,” said Valeich, “We are building awareness of all different learners with all different styles.”
 
The United Nations declared April 2 to be World Autism Awareness Day.

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