County SealApril 1, 2019 -- Westchester County Executive George Latimer today recognized April as National Autism Awareness Month, joining with County Departments, Westchester County organizations and families to highlight the importance of education, and providing a lifetime of supports and opportunities for individuals with Autism.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 59 births in the United States – twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125. Autism awareness works to ensure there are programs in place to support all children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  In addition, it raises the idea of promoting acceptance and inclusion among everyone.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Westchester County’s Autism Advisory Committee, formed under the Department of Community Mental Health in 2009, provides input from family members, services providers and advocates to make recommendations on the services and supports necessary for individuals with Autism. Our goal is for these individuals to live well in their own communities, and have access to meaningful social, vocational and employment opportunities.”

Some of the services offered by Westchester County include Project Lifesaver, an electronic tracking bracelet system for children with autism whose parents are looking for an extra layer of security.  There are also a number of recreational opportunities in local programs, post high-school planning assistance for students and autism awareness training for law enforcement recruits at the Police Training Academy.

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “Early diagnosis of Autism is important so that young children can receive appropriate early intervention services and supports as soon as possible. One of the goals of the Westchester County Autism Advisory Committee is to educate parents with information and guidance to seek essential services for their child.”

For additional information on Autism Awareness Events and resources please contact the Department of Community Mental Health at (914) 995-5225.