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UofL takes part in statewide campaign for early detection of autism, related disorders

by Cindy Hess, communications and marketing last modified Mar 26, 2013 07:36 AM

The University of Louisville’s Autism Center at Kosair Charities will kick off a statewide program April 1 to help parents, teachers and caregivers recognize the early signs of autism.

The ongoing campaign, “Learn the Signs. Act Early In Kentucky,” steps up outreach efforts during April’s National Autism Awareness Month with free, public workshops, webinars and print materials that can be downloaded from a website.

“We want our message to reach anyone and everyone who spends time with children,” said Scott Tomchek, co-clinical director for UofL’s autism center and Kentucky ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Act Early program.

The campaign is a partnership that includes the autism center, University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and autism support groups.

The statewide push to increase the public’s understanding of autism and related disorders can have a big impact, said Harold Kleinert, executive director of UK’s Human Development Institute.

“Doctors rely, in part, on a parent’s observations when it comes to assessing a child’s developmental progress,” Kleinert said. “So educating the public helps the doctor who, in turn, can find ways to help children who aren’t reaching developmental milestones when they should.”

To learn more about the campaign or download materials, go to the Kentucky Autism Training Center or call Rebecca Grau, assistant director of UofL’s Autism Center at Kosair Charities, at 502-852-7799.

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