Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe” Diaz hosted an Autism Awareness Month event on April 18 to bring attention to the challenges and triumphs of those living with autism. Commissioner Diaz was joined by Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and his colleagues.
Commissioner Diaz, who sponsored the 2009 County Commission resolution declaring April as Autism Awareness Month in Miami-Dade County, praised event participants The Dan Marino Foundation, Autism Speaks and South Florida Autism Charter School for supporting the cause of autism awareness, research and care.
“While we can be thankful that the percentage of children affected by autism has not risen over the last several years, the truth is we still have a lot of work to do,” he said.
The event, held at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami, also featured a speech by Marino Campus Miami student Gabriel Alfonso, who is looking forward to a career in technology. Participants also unveiled an interactive display highlighting the theme of achieving independence through employment.
Autism Awareness Month is designed to increase awareness about autism and treatment, as well as to encourage early testing for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that impairs communication skills and social abilities. There is no known cause or cure for autism, which is estimated to affect 1 out of every 68 children born in the United States.