Community member Samantha Ribeiro Matos, second from left, thanks commissioners Sam Nolte, president Kristie Tenney and Terry Cutright. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

County designates April 2022 Autism Awareness Month

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission proclaimed April 2022 as Autism Awareness Month during their March 24 meeting.

The proclamation also designated April 2, 2022, as World Autism Awareness Day in Upshur County.

Community member Samantha Ribeiro Matos thanked the commission for the proclamation and said it was important to raise awareness.

“I have two boys and they both have the same parents, same diagnosis and their sensory needs are completely different, so one of my favorite sayings is, ‘if you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person,’” Matos said. “It’s just really important to recognize that everybody’s sensory needs are different, there’s no two people that are the same and one might like one thing, one might not like another.”

She said autistic children are commonly classified as misbehaving, but they process things differently from others.

“A lot of people think autistic kids are bad kids because they act out, but really, they can’t process the same way we do, so I really, really appreciate you guys doing raising awareness,” Matos said. “The last time that the CDC did those statistics, and it was featured from last year, it was 1 in 58, so the prevalence has really increased and I think that’s because more people are realizing that it’s not just a bad kid, but there’s something else behind that and you’re getting the diagnosis and services they need.”

Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace read the proclamation which appears in full below:

Whereas autism spectrum disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior;

Whereas autism is an urgent public health crisis that demands support from all levels of government;

Whereas symptoms of autism may present themselves in a variety of combinations and can result in significant lifelong impairment of an individual’s ability to learn, develop healthy interactive behaviors and understand nonverbal communication;

Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 44 school aged children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder;

Whereas West Virginia is committed to ensuring that people living with autism have access to lifelong care and services needed to pursue their full potential and happiness; and

Whereas the Upshur County Commission is honored to take part in the annual observance of Autism Awareness Month and World Autism day, in the hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the disorder;

Now, therefore, the Upshur County Commission does hereby recognize April 2022 as Autism Awareness Month and April 2, 2022 as World Autism Awareness Day in Upshur County, West Virginia, and we call this observance to the attention of all of our citizens sign this 24th day of March 2022.

In other Upshur County Commission news:

  • The commission approved an advertisement for a part-time DHSEM Deputy Director. Applications are due no later than close of business Friday, April 1, 2022.
  • The commission approved and signed the Upshur County 2022-2023 fiscal year budget.

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