Manassas, VA – Each April, Didlake, Inc. and organizations across the country recognize National Autism Awareness Month. With an astounding 1,500 percent increase of the number of individuals with autism entering the school system in Virginia since 1990, Didlake also acknowledges the upcoming need for services for those individuals when they graduate. The first large wave of students with autism is projected to graduate in 2014. Andrew Clarke, Didlake’s Director of Community Services and appointed member of the Virginia Autism Council, says Didlake will be ready.
“National Autism Awareness month is a good time to assess our abilities as a provider of services for individuals with autism. We’re keenly aware of the heavily increased need for services in the near future and we are professionally developing our staff to accommodate this need as effectively as possible,” Clarke explained.
Three Didlake staff members will have obtained graduate certification in autism within the next month, and Clarke will obtain a master of education in autism in October.
To commemorate National Autism Awareness Month, Didlake is sending communications to all staff throughout the month to inform them of this increasingly prevalent disability. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex developmental disability that typically appears before the age of three and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a spectrum disorder, one that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no single cause of autism. In December 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report indicating that the prevalence of autism had risen to one in every 110 births, affecting nearly one in every 70 boys.
Didlake, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. It provides contract business services for commercial and government customers and has won numerous awards for its facilities maintenance; packaging/ assembly; and administrative services. The organization operates throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, in the Roanoke Valley and in Greater Hampton Roads. It serves more than 1,400 people with disabilities annually. Didlake, Inc. is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne program. Its partners include the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, local Community Services Boards and United Way of the National Capital Area. For more information, visit www.didlake.org.