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Monday, April 23, 2007

Lost Children

It feels almost as though my blog has transformed into a magnanimity announcement board of late. We've got the Shane Bernier birthday cards campaign, the Gabby Krause Foundation, and my brief article on Earth Day. If not for my enthusiastic recognition of the fine-looking females in Gypsy in my last entry, one might think that the Wolf had gone on vacation and left the care of this blog to some bleeding heart good Samaritan. Not so, my hairy-chinned little piggies, not so.
It just seems that lately I've had a number of things brought to my attention, often by beautiful young women (ensuring my undivided attention), and then I find myself thinking about these things later on in the day. I think, if I were a better person, I'd do something about this. Then I remember that there are better people who read my blog. I post the information so that some do-gooder can take up the cause, and I have used my blog to facilitate the occurrence of a good deed or two. I figure that's got to shave at least a couple of weeks off of my purgatory time, as long as I can avoid the black smoke and the polar bears. (I know. I know. The island isn't purgatory. Yeah, sure. Whatever.)
Well, anyway, an attractive woman I encountered on the internet (who, yes, might in actuality be a large, hairy man named Murray) brought another bit of information to my attention. I was not aware of this (and I'm a little late in finding out), but April is Autism Awareness month.
Now, I must confess that my exposure to autism consists primarily of Dustin Hoffman's performance as an autistic savant in Rain Man, a role that I know was heavily researched, but, like most things in Hollywood, still only moderately accurate. I was also under the impression that autism is extremely rare. This apparently is not true. Here are some facts about autism that were something of a surprise to me:

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.

It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls.

Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism.

1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum.

67 children are diagnosed per day.

A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes.

More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade.

Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.

Let me just repeat that last one just in case you were "skimming."

Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.

There is no medical detection or cure for autism.

Now, as troubling as these statistics are, they’re still really just factoids. To put a more human face on this disability, take a look at this video on the Autism Speaks website. It's called Autism Every Day. It's thirteen minutes long (yes, you do too have the time) and follows several mothers of children with autism through their every day lives. The movie has been expanded to 44 minutes and is currently touring film festivals.
I thought it was interesting. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

Uh-oh, here comes that altruistic feeling again . . . If Keanu Reeves and Andie MacDowell share more than five minutes of screen time, the talent vacuum created is enough to swallow the entire population of Rhode Island!
There, I feel better now.

Birthday cards are making their way to Shane. Look at the smile on that kid's face.What the heck else were you going to do today? Let's keep those cards rolling in.

Current recommendations for theatre around town:
Working is at the Tramway through April 28th. Great, great show.
Gypsy closes April 29th at the Lakewood Cultural Center. Definitely worth seeing. I could go on about Alisa Vaughters and the others in her trio, but I vowed never to use the word "bootylicious" in this blog.

Aw, nuts.

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