Lakota Country Times: Autism awareness on Rosebud Reservation

Students walked through downtown Rosebud, South Dakota, in April 2015 to bring awareness to their classmates who have autism. This year the walk is scheduled for Friday, April 29, beginning at 2pm. The Autism Awareness Walk, held at the Rosebud Elementary School, has grown each year. Photo by Vi Waln

Rosebud Observing Autism Awareness Month
By Vi Waln
Lakota Country Times Correspondent

ROSEBUD – William Kindle, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, issued an Executive Proclamation designating April as Autism Awareness Month on the Rosebud Reservation.

President Kindle wrote: “The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has historically been, and still remains dedicated to supporting all of our tribal members of very age, who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. We also honor family members, advocates and professionals who work alongside those with autism to promote a world free of barriers, inclusions in all of life’s experiences and acceptance of the difference that were gifted to us.”

In addition, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring April 2, 2016, as World Autism Awareness Day. Many organizations across the country participated in the Light It Up Blue activity. Blue lights, many in the shape of a puzzle piece, can be seen displayed by local businesses and organizations.

Locally, there are several events scheduled for April to bring more awareness about the prevalence of autism among children.

Training sessions on Autism Spectrum Disorder are being provided for Head Start parents. These sessions are being facilitated by Shelley Means. Parents in the Mission, White River, Winner, Rosebud, Parmelee and Norris areas were offered training earlier this month. The final session will be held at the St. Francis Head Start Center on Thursday, April 21, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Autism Speaks (, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, lists the following facts about autism on their website:
• Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
• Autism prevalence figures are growing
• Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S.
• Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
• Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
• There is no medical detection or cure for autism

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On April 19, an Autism Awareness Walk was held at the St. Francis Indian School beginning at 2:00 pm. Also, an Autism Awareness Family Night was held at the Sinte Gleska University Multipurpose Center on April 19.

The 6th Annual RST Autism Awareness Walk will be held at the Rosebud Elementary School on April 29. The walk will begin at 2:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to participate in this event.

For more information, please call the Lakota Tiwahe Center at (605) 747-4145.

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