April is Autism Awareness Month. As a parent with a 12-year-old daughter on the autism spectrum, I take great pride in knowing that for the third year in a row, EMC employees are taking part in the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign to support global autism awareness.
As a co-founder of EMC’s Disability Employee Resource Group, seeing our buildings lighted up in blue exemplifies EMC as a great place to work! As we promote autism awareness, the facts below remind us all of the challenges facing this diagnosis:
• Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
• Autism prevalence figures are growing
• Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U.S.
• Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
• Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
• There is no medical detection or cure for autism
In support of those affected in the U.S., EMC provides additional autism coverage for Intensive Behavioral Therapies. These supplemental autism benefits are provided to dependents of EMC employees enrolled in an EMC medical plan as part of the Behavioral Health benefit plan. There are no age limitations or annual lifetime maximum benefit limits.
Also in the U.S., EMC’s monthly Autism Support Group enables colleagues to share their experiences with one another sharing strategies, resources and insights from those who know firsthand the tribulations of an autism diagnosis.
On my first day at EMC almost ten years ago, August 1st 2005, I learned my daughter would take us on an autism journey after she was diagnosed with a form of autism called PDD-NOS. As I write this on April 2nd 2015, I am most thankful for the support and benefits listed above as they made a profound difference in our daughter’s life. She is now in middle school, in a regular class and shares an aide with other kids. She goes to a special class for reading and got A’s and B’s in her first semester.
As I reflect on this day and Autism Awareness Month I know how fortunate we are, but I hope someday autism day and month will be a distant memory. Until then let us light it up blue and show support for those confronting autism. Thank you!