Lee County Autism Resources and Advocacy (LCARA) is a non-profit organization providing resources, workshops, meetings and support for families in Lee County, Alabama. Together with educators, business professionals, and parents, we hope to bring the communities of Lee County a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders and how families are affected.
Purpose of LCARA
- To promote and advocate for the general welfare of persons with autism spectrum disorders.
- To provide support, information, and resources to families affected by autism spectrum disorders in the Lee County area.
- To conduct support group meetings and other meetings to help families affected by autism spectrum disorders
- To organize and sponsor events for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, their families, and community members.
- To help the community develop a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders.
- To further transition of ASD individuals into adulthood by promoting an apprenticeship program in areas such as welding, plumbing, and woodworking and other skilled trades which will lead to these individuals becoming productive citizens of Lee County.
- To organize, sponsor or assist with educational or beneficial projects, events, trainings and workshops for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, family members and professionals.
What is Autism?
Autism is one of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASDs include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS, including atypical autism). ASDs involve neurodevelopmental impairments, characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties and repetitive/restrictive behaviors and interests. While people diagnosed with ASD share the common challenges, there is a broad spectrum of symptoms, skills and levels of impairment.
ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and are five times more likely to occur in boys than girls. The Center for Disease Control released data in 2014, indicating that about 1 in 68 children in multiple areas of the United States have ASDs.
A person with an ASD might:
- Not respond to their name by 12 months
- Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
- Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
- Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Have delayed speech and language skills
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Give unrelated answers to questions
- Get upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Alabama saw a 517% increase in ASD cases in residents ages 3 to 21 during the years from 2000 to 2010, which is ahead of the national increase of 448%. Nationwide, 1 in 68 children have autism.
After realizing the need for a local non-profit to work for the benefit of families affected by ASDs in Lee County, a group of dedicated parents has worked to develop Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy.
Lee County Autism Resource & Advocacy is an equal opportunity agency. Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy does not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, national origin, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all families, volunteers, and vendors.