Spotlight On: Autism

Every twenty minutes a child is diagnosed with autism. These statistics have greatly affected the life of Diana Zarycki. Diana's grandson was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome about three years ago.

"Kids with autism don't interact normally with those without it," she said, "and because my grandson has autism, I haven't been able to have a normal relationships with since his diagnoses."

Autism is a disorder that doesn't get much attention and something that is very hard to deal with. Most people think that autistic children are hopeless and constantly having emotional breakdowns; however, that is not the case.

"Society should know that autistic people have the same feelings, wants, and desires as other people. They just can't vocalize it as well," said Diana.

This year Diana perticipated in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks, a walk held every year in order to raise awareness and money for autism.

"I first found out about Autism Speaks after my grandson was diagnosed. I was doing some research, and came across the website which offers a packet called 'First 100 Days,' that offers information about what to expect in the first one hundred days of the diagnoses."

Autism Speaks is a foundation that provides a great information and research about autism. Without this foundation, families would be lost. Just this year alone, the Michigan branch of Autism Speaks has raised $128,780,00. Personally, Diana has donated money, created a team for the autism walked, created fundraisers to raise money, and is always informing others about Autism Speaks and what a great foundation it is.

Diana has had firsthand experience with autism, and can offer a lot of information and tips for parents with autistic children.

"Finding information is the key. Find the things that trigger emotional episodes and avoid them. Figure out what the child excels in and develop it. It is also important to join support groups and get involved with Autism Speaks."

Autism should be more commonly discussed in schools. Another issue people have is whether or not Autistic children should be in their own classrooms, or if they should be integrated with other students. Diana said, "it all really depends on the severity of autism; some children can be mainstreamed, but others should be in a special classroom."

Henry Ford Community College would greatly benefit from a person with the knowledge and experience that diana Zarycki has. Autism greatly overlooked, and with someone like Diana, the whole student body could be more informed about autism.