Local autism, ADHD support group founded - Titusville Herald: News

Local autism, ADHD support group founded

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:00 am

Titusville Parents or guardians raising kids with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a new source of help to turn to, thanks to a recently founded support group.

Lacy Morris, an early childhood educator with the Titusville Regional Literacy Council, created the group, known as Parents Uniting Together, after seeing a post on Facebook about Titusville lacking one.

“I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community,” Morris said.

As someone with a nephew dealing with non-verbal autism, Morris is well-acquainted with the difficulties that can come with the development disorders. Nonverbal autism is an affliction where a person is unable to speak, and is one of several maladies that are covered by the autism spectrum.

According to Morris, there is a wide range of difficulties kids with autism or ADHD might have, and each case is different from the next. Some may struggle to pay attention, while others could have a sensitivity to a certain kind of stimulus, such as bright lights or loud noises. Those with high functioning autism might struggle with social cues, such as understanding symbolism or knowing how to make friends.

“It might be something simple, like they can’t stand [clothing] tags or everything has to be a certain way and they don’t respond well to changes,” she said.

The many different ways autism and ADHD can manifest is one of the reasons Morris started the group. She said that she hoped parents could share resources through the connection of Parents Uniting Together, such as by recommending different treatments, informing each other of helpful products or just by giving a sense of togetherness.

“I think it gives [parents] a lot, because every case is going to be individualized, but they can see they’re not in it alone,” Morris said.

Parents raising a kid with ADHD or autism may have to contend with many specialized purchasing decisions for their child. Some autistic kids might wander away from the home, requiring specialized locks to keep them safely inside, while both of the developmental disorders can cause difficulty sleeping due to anxiety. In such a case, Morris said that weighted blankets are often used to help put the child at ease.

In fact, fidget spinners were originally designed to help kids with ADHD to pay attention before becoming more widely popular, according to Morris.

Even going out to find entertainment require an extra step. As some kids with autism are overly sensitive to light and sound, they have difficulty watching movies at a theater. According to Morris, some venues will have special nights where the sound is lowered and the screen dimmed to allow autistic kids an easier viewing experience.

Currently, Parents Uniting Together is relatively small in scope. Founded on Jan. 26, the group has 34 members and mostly communicates via Facebook group page, called “parents uniting together.” However, Morris has big plans for the future and is presently organizing the first in-person meeting, which she said will likely take place in the third week of March.

Beyond just providing mutual support and advice, Morris aims to bring greater outside help to the parents and guardians involved. She said that her boss at the Literacy Council, Kelli Davis, has offered to write grants for seeking treatment or purchasing special equipment.

Morris also hopes to invite speakers to group meetings and even provide education about autism and ADHD to organizations around town.

“I just hope it takes off, because that page is something Titusville really needed,” she said.

Two such groups Morris wants to get involved are the Titusville police and fire departments. She said that emergency responders may struggle with situations involving kids with the developmental disorders. Children might seemingly ignore commands by police officers or firefighters due to their condition, but are actually wholly unable to communicate or respond.

However, despite the difficulties, Morris said that people shouldn’t underestimate those with autism or ADHD.

“A lot of people think they’re stupid at that point, and they’re not,” she said. “They’re very bright, they just can’t communicate.”

The number of people diagnosed with autism or ADHD has been on the rise, according to Morris, and has been occurring in both boys and girls, whereas the disorders previously tended to appear more in the former.

Those interested in joining the group can find it on Facebook. Morris said that people can message her to receive an invite. The group plans to meet regularly at the Titusville Regional Literacy Council, located at 330 East Spruce St., once a set meeting time can be set established.

Ray can be reached, by email, at sray@titusvilleherald.com.

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