Chattanooga To Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day On April 2

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, join staff, faculty, children, adults and families from Autism & Behavior Services, Chattanooga Autism Center, Orange Grove Center, Signal Centers and Siskin Children’s Institute as they gather for a community-wide commemoration at Miller Plaza’s Waterhouse Pavilion at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  Members of the autism community and the general public are invited.

In addition to remarks from the mayor, families will share personal stories describing their own journeys with autism, from those having just been diagnosed, to adults currently living within the spectrum. At the close of the event, the Waterhouse Pavilion will be illuminated as part of the worldwide Light It Up Blue campaign forged by Autism Speaks.

World Autism Awareness Day was adopted in 1989 and is a United Nations-sanctioned observance. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part in Light It Up Blue. The Waterhouse Pavilion will remain washed in blue light through the night on April 2 as a powerful visual reminder for our community about WAAD.

All attendees are invited to come dressed in blue to draw attention to this important issue of autism awareness.

From Laura Forkum, executive director, Autism & Behavior Services:  “Families who have children with autism struggle to access the community on a daily basis due to their child's challenging behavior. These families often feel like the general public is not accepting of their child when they are having a tantrum. Raising the awareness of autism in the general public will assist these families to access the community.”  For more information about Autism & Behavior Services, visit autismbehaviorservices.org.

From Dave Buck, director, Chattanooga Autism Center:  “Parents often tell us how they wish people knew about autism. They feel people wouldn't misjudge their child or judge them as parents if they only understood a little.”  For more information about Chattanooga Autism Center, visit chattanoogaautismcenter.org.

From Kyle Hauth, executive director, Orange Grove Center:  “Individuals in our society who have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum benefit most from a connected and collaborative community which recognizes the worth of every individual regardless of their disability and which strives to bring resources to bear in a person centered manner. We at Orange Grove are pleased to operate in Hamilton County where so many opportunities exist for cooperative ventures between private and public entities.”  For more information about Orange Grove Center, visit orangegrovecenter.org.

From Donna McConnico, CEO, Signal Centers:  "Even with remarkable advances in education, technology and research we know we should do more. Studies have shown that the majority of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders notice a developmental problem before their child's first birthday, yet only 18% of children are diagnosed before age 3. We should ensure that every child with autism has intervention at the earliest moment possible."  For more information about Signal Centers, visit signalcenters.org.

From John Farrimond, president & CEO, Siskin Children’s Institute:  “With so much unknown about ASD, it’s important to reiterate what we do know. ASD affects 1 in every 88 children in the U.S. – 1 in every 54 boys. It is a brain-based developmental disability and research indicates that early identification and intervention are key to potentially positive outcomes. Siskin Children’s Institute is honored to partner in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day and to provide important assessment, diagnosis, therapies, and early childhood education for children and their families.”  For more information about Siskin Children's Institute, visit siskin.org.


Widespread Flue Impacting Local Blood Supply

Non-profit regional blood center Blood Assurance is calling on healthy community members to make a blood donation at a local donor center or bloodmobile as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply needed by area hospitals. The local blood supply is critically low due to high hospital usage and widespread flu affecting donors across the region. “To have a four to five ... (click for more)

Ronald McDonald House Launches Share-A-Night Campaign

RMHC of Greater Chattanooga launched their Share-A-Night campaign with one main premise: to walk in the shoes of a family with a sick child. The year-long campaign aims to encourage individuals to donate in increments of $66, which is what it costs the charity to host one family for one night; they host 26 families every day, costing $1,716 per night for housing alone.  ... (click for more)

St. Elmo Woman, 45, Dies At County Workhouse On Wednesday Night; Investigation Underway

An inmate died at the county workhouse at Silverdale on Wednesday night, and an investigation is underway.   She was identified as  Dana Shunice Palmer, 45, of St. Elmo.   Ms. Palmer was booked into the Hamilton County Jail from the Chattanooga Police Department on Feb. 14 on a public Intoxication charge. She was transferred from the jail to CoreCivic ... (click for more)

Shannon Whitfield Raising Rates At Money-Losing Walker County Landfill; Moratorium Placed On Fracking, Deep Well Drilling, Tiny Homes

New Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is raising rates at the money-losing Walker County Landfill. The higher charges go into effect on March 1. Mr. Whitfield, during his campaign, said the landfill had been losing about $500,000 per year for many years. He said other area landfills were making a profit, but Walker County was having to subsidize its landfill. ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right ... (click for more)