Autism services in the county are limited but available

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

As designated by Congress, April is National Autism Awareness Month and in recognition, autism organizations across the country are providing valuable resources and information to those affected by the disability.
Autism falls under the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities umbrella, The Arc of Pearl River County President Susette Morrow said.
Currently, other than programs in each local school district, there are limited local resources available to those diagnosed with autism, and their families, Morrow said.
However, Morrow said the Arc will soon open an office at 127 A West Canal Street in Picayune where she will offer reading materials, references and other resources for those seeking autism-related support, as well as other IDDs, she said.
The Poplarville School District serves students of all ages with IDDs, and caters to each student diagnosed on the autistic spectrum, Special Education Director Shannon Anderson said.
“They are served in their least restrictive environment which could be either inclusion or special education classrooms,” Anderson said.
Depending on what each student’s education program committee determines, along with the parents’ input, the student is placed in the appropriate setting, she said.
Inclusion classrooms include the help of an inclusion teacher to support the student as well as the classroom teacher, Anderson said.
“The success rate is based on the individual student,” she said. “Autism is a spectrum, so some students are at one end and other students at the other end. So, how they make progress depends on their individual needs.”
Every student from 2 to 21-years-old is serviced by the special education department, if needed, Anderson said.
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health through Ellisville State School and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services also provides autism services to Pearl River County residents.
Ellisville State School serves about 1,000 students in this community through various services and programs, according to the school’s website.
In addition, a non-profit organization works statewide to help those living with autism, as well as other IDDs.
TEAAM Autism provides summer camp programs and weekend retreats for children and adults, according to the organization’s website.
One in every 68 children in the U.S. is on the spectrum, the Autism Society organizational website states.
With so many children affected, Autism Awareness month was established to educate people about the disability, the AS states.
More information on the disability can be found at

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About Julia Arenstam

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