DENVER (CBS4) – April is Autism Awareness Month, and Firefly Autism in Denver is working to spark the conversation around the residents of the spectrum.
“Every day is a day of autism awareness for us because we really focus on awareness, changing the narrative and helping people understand autism is just a different way of being,” said Jesse Ogas, Executive Director of Firefly Autism. “Everyone is different.”
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The Denver organization kicked off World Autism Day on April 2nd with a community vaccination clinic to help the community return their Fireflys live in the community. Also, one of her students is creating videos of “fun facts” to help educate the community about those living in the spectrum.
“It’s really fun,” said Ogas.
Firefly Autism offers a variety of support programs for children, families, and adults, including home programs, center programs for early childhood and school age children, adult programs, and even sibling support. Ogas said on behalf of the organization it was about making sure each Firefly has an individual path of support.
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“When you work with someone on the spectrum, you have to deal with them as an individual – what are their needs, what are their barriers, what are their strengths,” Ogas said. “And together, my team puts together a plan, an individual plan for each person we work with. I don’t care if they’re 18 months old or in their 70s. “
Ogas said this month is to have a conversation about what autism looks like on a large scale, be it within the community or within a family.
“It’s a different way of seeing the world and it’s a different way of communicating,” he explained. “It’s not just about learning to deal with behavior, but also about learning basic life skills. It also includes speech therapy and occupational therapy for each individual. “
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To celebrate Autism Awareness Month and get the conversation going, Firefly Autism is hosting its annual Laugh Yourself Blue Gala on June 24th. The event will be a mix of personal attendance and partying in town. For more information on the event or support and resources, visit: fireflyautism.org