For Immediate Release: April 26, 2007
Senator Mike Johnson
Senate Declares April 2007 Autism Awareness
It is estimated that up to 1.5 million Americans
have some form of autism, and reports indicate autism is growing
at a rate of 10 to 17 percent each year. In an effort to help
better educate the public about this neurological disorder,
the State Senate voted on Thursday to declare April 2007 as
Autism Awareness Month in Oklahoma. Sen. Mike
Johnson was the principal author of the measure.
“The current numbers show that autism is now the third
most common developmental disability, and it affects one in
150 children born in this country,” said Johnson, R-Kingfisher.
“Doctors and scientists still don’t really know
exactly what causes it and there is no cure, but with early
diagnosis and therapy, these children can be helped.”
Autism is a neurological disorder affecting normal brain functions,
causing problems in areas such as social interaction and communication
skills. While the disease cannot be cured, the symptoms can
improve with therapy. Children with autism do not relate to
the world around them the way others do. They may have trouble
understanding others or may not communicate. Normal sounds or
even being touched can cause physical discomfort.
“Again, therapy can help, sometimes significantly. Fortunately,
there are several organizations throughout the state to help
raise awareness and provide information and support to children
with autism and their families,” Johnson said.
Those organizations include the Oklahoma Autism Network, the
Tulsa Autism Foundation, the Edmond Family Center for Autism,
the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the Autism Society of America,
and the Canadian Valley Autism Support Group.
“Obviously we need to find a cure, but until that day
comes it is tremendously important that children with autism
here in Oklahoma and everywhere else get an accurate and early
diagnosis and treatment to help their future growth and development,”
Johnson said. “Raising public awareness about autism can
make all the difference.”
For more information contact:
Senator Johnson's Office: (405) 521-5592