April = Autism Awareness Month

Monday April 2nd was World Autism Day

My Facebook page was flooded with images of blue, personal stories, and great news from our president, Mr. Barack Obama, who gave a proclamation honoring all those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and encouraging Americans to learn more about autism and what they can do to support individuals with ASD and their families. To read the proclamation in its entirety, click HERE.

CDC (center for disease control) on March 29, reported that autism is now diagnosed in 1 out of every 88 American children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls), up 78% in the past decade.

Together as a community, and as a society, we ALL need to become more informed as these numbers rise. If you have not been directly impacted by autism, there is a good chance you know someone who has.

The whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month.

Since April 2 has come and gone, it’s time to take the blue ribbons off the trees and the blue bulbs down in Burton Village, but that doesn’t mean autism awareness is over for another year. The whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month!

Despite the very cold weather on Saturday, March 31, the Balloon Launch went well. It was nice to see old and new faces. I was handed a letter and was told it was from a prior teacher my son had at Metzenbaum Center many years ago, Miss Sally Ann. A family had shared an article from the Geauga News with her.” Wow! What a long way you have come, what a wonderful piece you wrote, what a great idea to develop awareness in our community,” she said. I am extremely blessed to have known Miss Sally Ann. What an incredible woman and teacher. I am so grateful that, to Miss Sally Ann, my son Jason was more than just a number, he was her student. This letter will go with his keepsakes so he will know how far he has come since our early days of diagnoses.

World Autism Day
Light It Up Blue Banner from Century Village in Burton

Mayor Nick Fischbach and the Burton Village Council issued a proclamation for Autism Awareness that was read by Burton Police Chief Rick Smigeliski.

Many Thanks…

I would personally like to thank Century Village for allowing us to host our event, the Burton Mayor’s office, Sue Wayman from Coffee Corners, all the businesses who allowed us to hang blue lights, and the Burton Fire department. Thanks also go to everyone who came out and helped hang blue ribbons around the square, the STARS program for supplying the cookies, Hildred Armstrong for the cold refreshments and for setting up the day of the launch, Linda’s Restaurant for supplying the coffee, Denise Fish from Shetlers Printing –  the banner was beautiful! Joanie and Bob from Party Outlet in Middlefield, thank you for all the help with the balloons. And a very special thank you to Otto Ziska, who, as always, went above and beyond. And thank you to Gabe Arnold from Geauga News for giving me this wonderful opportunity to bring awareness to the community.

I would like to also thank the mayor of Middlefield, Ben Garlich, for lighting up fire department blue along with the municipal area, and the sign on the MFD, “World Autism Awareness Day”.

My goal is to get bigger and better every year! Thank you to everyone who was a part of this wonderful day – hope to see you all again next year!

Rachel Dannemiller
Author: Rachel Dannemiller

Rachel is a lifelong resident of Geauga County. She is married to Tom and has a son Jason, and a dog named Harley. Rachel and her family are devoted to bringing autism awareness to the community and they are organizing the local Autism Speaks event in Burton this year.