Autism Awareness Month and the Levi's Link Program

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April is Autism Awareness Month. Since the early 1970s, the Autism Society of America has promoted autism awareness to empower people with autism and their families. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Differences.” Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of challenges that can include: social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. While increased awareness and updated criteria for diagnosing may contribute to the ever-rising prevalence rates of autism, experts agree early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.

At McLaren Port Huron, our Levi’s Link program promotes individualized patient care for both adults and children with special needs. Levi’s Link was developed at the request of Megan Wilson, the mother of a child with autism spectrum disorder, who wanted to improve the hospital experience for her son, Levi, and others with special needs. Since piloting in Surgical Services in May 2018, the program has since been implemented in other departments throughout the hospital and because of its success, there are plans to implement in other subsidiaries. 

Each year a run is held as a fundraiser for the Levi’s Link program at McLaren Port Huron. This year’s 5th Annual Levi’s Link 10K, 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk takes place Sunday, June 26 at Mid Michigan Materials in Jeddo, Michigan. Click here to register for the run.