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April 26, 2011 > April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month

Submitted By Josh Thurman

On Tuesday, April 12, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month. Proclamations were presented to Mitch and Charlene Sigman, Founders, School of Imagination in Dublin and Dr. Albert Wang, Founder of the Friends of Children with Special Needs in Fremont.

A 2009 study by the National Survey of Children's Health reported that one in every 91 American children, including one in 58 boys, is now affected by autism. In California, the State Department of Developmental Services serves over 50,000 individuals with autism, a fivefold increase since 1998. "Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. and it's now more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

"With the prevalence of autism increasing in our community the School of Imagination's May 1st Happy Talkers Community Outreach event will support families in a way that will have a positive impact on their child's education and development." The School of Imagination will hold the "Happy Talkers Community Outreach" on May 1st in Pleasanton. Now in its fifth year, it's the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in California history. This one-of-a-kind day offers free screenings for development delay and autism early intervention, and offers resources for families. In just a short few hours, parents will receive answers about their child, a roadmap and on-site referrals to a host of support agencies, critical early intervention assistance that would normally take months to obtain.

"We are honored to hold the Happy Talkers Community Outreach which is part of our goal to ensure that every child receives help as early as possible," said Charlene Sigman, an award-winning speech therapist who founded the School of Imagination. "For a child in need, help will begin the very same day. Parents will receive information from experts and ultimately a chance to change their child's future. The Happy Talkers Outreach takes place on Sunday, May 1, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Marriott Pleasanton, 11950 Canyon Road in Pleasanton. To register or learn more about this event, please call (877) KIDS-TLC or visit

Friends of Children with Special Needs is located in Fremont and provides 35 programs to 800 families, serving over 600 individuals with autism in the Bay Area.

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