Autism Awareness Month April 1, 2019 WHEREAS, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability characterized by social and behavioral challenges and can result in lifelong impairment of an individual’s ability to learn, develop healthy interactive behaviors, or understand both verbal and nonverbal communication; and WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 59 children in the United States are affected by autism, making it the fastest growing developmental disorder. No single cause of Autism has been identified, however research has discovered potential risk factors, including environmental, biologic, and genetic factors; and WHEREAS, the symptoms and characteristics of autism affect each individual differently and in a variety of combinations. Although there is no cure for Autism, research has shown early identification, education, and therapy can improve a child’s development, and provide them with the tools they need for a bright future; and WHEREAS, all individuals with autism should be regarded as valuable members of our community, and be provided with equal opportunities and support to live, work, and play; and WHEREAS, a variety of public and private organizations and agencies, such as The Alaska Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, strive to provide quality care, support, and/or services to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder to enable them to live as independently as possible and reach their full potential; and WHEREAS, individuals with Autism, their families, and caregivers are striving to improve opportunities and services for children and adults with Autism. Through research, training, support groups, advocacy, and increased awareness, we will become more inclusive and be better equipped to support the growing number of individuals with autism and their families. NOW THEREFORE, I, Michael J. Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2019 as: Autism Awareness Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves about Autism Spectrum Disorders, help those living with Autism, and work together to ensure that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders are treated respectfully.