“Autism doesn’t have a look”: Hundreds gather at the Gainesville Elks Lodge to support Autism
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - According to the CDC, 1 and every 59 children in the United States are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“I know there’s a saying that goes, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve only met one person with autism,” said Diamund Williams, mother of son with autism.
Williams’ 5 year-old son was diagnosed with autism about a year and a half ago.
“Since then he’s been going to therapy and just getting the support he needs,” she said.
But it hasn’t been easy. “It’s very difficult specifically during the summer time to find activities for him to do.”
So that’s why she brought him to the Elks Lodge of Gainesville for its annual Summer Splash Family Day so he could play with other who are just like him.
“My goal is to try to get him to socialize as much as possible so he can see that there’s other children like him and that they have difficulties with socializing as well. I really wanted to encourage that especially during the summer,” Williams said.
Williams said she wants people to understand that autism doesn’t have look and that it’s developmental.
“I get told a lot that my son looks like he’s normal or that he functions normally.”
But she says prior to her son’s diagnosis, she didn’t know anything about the spectrum.
“I’ve had to learn it all after my son was diagnosed. I was just like every other person where I assumed autism had a look or I assumed it would be something that I would be able to see,” said Williams.
So that’s why she encourages people to learn about the disorder.
“If people can remember that it is a spectrum...that it looks completely different for every child, and to be receptive to that...that will help.”
She said that once people become educated, that’s when cautiousness turns into acceptance.
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