April is Autism Awareness Month and Hopebridge is providing services for children on the autism spectrum.

Hopebridge provides resources such as Hopebridge360, Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, feeding and swallowing therapy, diagnosis and evaluations, insurance support and family education to its clients.

“We provide one-on-one ABA therapy with kids on the spectrum,” said Board Certified Behavior Analyst Camarin Gilman. “Our goal is to get kids in a good place to where they can transition back into school full time.”

Gilman said there are a lot of stereotypes surrounding people with autism.

“Odd behavior, flapping of hands, humming and rocking back and forth is what you typically hear when you think about autism,” she said. “I try to remind people that autism is a broad spectrum. We have very, very intelligent kids who are here and we also have kids who are non-verbal but that doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent.”

Gilman said one in 54 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, 1,112,670 children enrolled in Indiana’s public and non-public schools during the 2020-21 school year were autistic.

“Everybody knows someone who knows someone with autism, even if they aren’t aware of it,” Gilman said. “Be mindful of situations when you’re out in public and you see someone with a unique behavior. Don’t jump to judgement, don’t treat that differently, don’t be cruel or say anything mean.”

According to Gilman, social settings can be overwhelming to people with autism.

“Being aware and asking if there’s anything you can do to help with an open heart proves you are trying and a lot of parents say that makes a world of difference,” she said.

Gilman said Newburgh Elementary School has a Autism Behavior Support program where there are several BCBAs who work with children on the autism spectrum in classroom settings.

“Early intervention is essential,” she said. “If there’s one message we could get out to the community this month it would be, if you think your child has autism, to get them diagnosed as early as possible.”

Gilman said if a child can be diagnosed between the ages of two and seven, their quality of life will “majorly” increase.

“That’s why we focus on children ages two to 12 because that is the most important time for a child to be diagnosed and get the right services and get on track for the future,” she said.

Developmental delay, lack of eye contact, long tantrums and lack of self regulation are all signs a child might be autistic, according to Gilman.

Gilman said statistics show that if someone has autism, it is more likely to develop later on in another family member, but that is not always the case.

“There is still so much we don’t know about autism, unfortunately,” she said.

Hopebridge is located at 4655 Rosebud Lane in Newburgh. They can be contacted at 812-213-8031. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Karah Wilson, kwilson@messenger-inquirer.com

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