The Wake Forest Fire Department is excited to announce that beginning April 1st thru April 30th we will be wearing work shirts that will bring awareness to the growing number of individuals being diagnosed daily with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In April of 1972, the Autism Society initiated the first annual National Children’s week. This later evolved into Autism Acceptance Month. This April, the WFFD looks forward to spreading awareness, promoting acceptance, and initiating change regarding ASD.
ASD now affects 1 in 54 children in the United States. It is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders and boys are nearly 5 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ASD. ASD is now more common than childhood cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Outcomes for children’s lives are significantly improved with early detection, diagnosis, and intervention. It affords the opportunity to improve learning, communication, and social skills as well as underlying brain development.
Wake Forest Fire Chief, Ron Early, spearheaded this initiative with the assistance of his wife and Captain Justin Brown. The Early’s youngest son, Kyle, was diagnosed with high functioning ASD in 2001 when he was just two years old. The Early’s watched the struggles that their son suffered through during his life due to a world that did not understand him. The lifetime of bullying and misconceptions pushed Kyle into a world of isolation and sadness. It is the Early’s hope that by bringing awareness to ASD they can help people understand these individuals with a more loving heart, patience, and kindness.