Autism Awareness

The Hitching Post is a proud supporter of children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. The founder, Patti Howell, began working with children on the spectrum in 2010, teaching in the public school setting. Through that experience, she gained a new understanding and a lifelong love for these very special kids. Because autism is a social/communication disorder, it often impedes an individual’s ability to connect with others, succeed in school and find meaningful employment. As a society, if we don’t make the effort to learn more and engage with those on the spectrum, we will miss out on some of the most intelligent, caring and creative people!

I know the signs of healthy child development.

The Hitching Post is committed to spreading autism awareness, hosting social skills workshops and outings, connecting families and building support networks. Through our company, we offer educational services which include tutoring, special advocacy services and are working towards providing supported employment to those on the spectrum and with other special needs. Additionally, we coordinate social group outings in our local community; providing fun and exciting experiences to families affected by autism. These outings are a great way for families to connect, children to practice social skills and, best of all, the community to engage with this amazing population.

The Hitching Post donates a portion of all jewelry proceeds to spreading awareness, educating those with special needs and advocating for their success. We invite you to check out the links below to learn more and find ways you can help. You won’t regret it.

What is Autism?
Autism is a social, communication disorder that is often able to be detected before the age of 1. Early intervention is most effective, so it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms as early as possible. I have included a list of signs and symptoms from the CDC’s website as well as a link to their site where you can learn more.
What Autism is not?
Autism is not an indicator of intelligence or future success. Many people with autism have above average intelligence and are some of our most creative, innovative people in society. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates and many more have been diagnosed with autism or speculated to have been on the spectrum? The ability to be able to think outside of the box and see things from a completely different perspective is often found in individuals with autism.

Currently, the CDC reports that 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with autism.  We have seen an incredible increase in numbers since 2000 when the diagnosis rate was 1 in 150.  Some studies have shown (by survey) that the numbers could be even higher.

Children or adults with asd might...
  • Not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • Not look at objects when another person points at them
  • Have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
  • Appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  • Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • Repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • Not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll)
  • Repeat actions over and over again
  • Have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • Lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)
Additional Links
CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

Free “ Go Out and Play Kit” from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/ccp_pdfs/gop_kit.pdf

Autism Society of Tidewater Virginia: http://www.tidewaterasa.org

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