What is Autism?
To the general public, Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
To a family living with it, autism is relentless and unpredictable. Children with autism have sensory processing issues making lights, sounds, smells, crowds and new environments difficult to tolerate. When the child becomes overstimulated they communicate their discomfort through tantrums and meltdowns. Most times these tantrums occur outside the home. Friends, family members and the public-at-large can be very critical and judgmental of these episodes, making rude comments about your parenting skills or how your child is naughty.
Because of this judgement many families opt to stay home. This decision, born out of self-preservation, does not help anyone. The parents and siblings become isolated and lonely and the child with autism is not given an opportunity to learn and thrive in a social setting.
Creating an environment where the families impacted by autism feel supported and without judgement is the primary CAN mission. In January 2016, the town of Surfside Beach issued a resolution declaring it the first autism friendly travel destination. Anywhere. Click here for more info.
Champion Autism Network, Inc. (CAN) is a nonprofit autism awareness organization based in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. CAN was founded in 2012 by Becky Large, a business professional and mother of a child on the spectrum. CAN’s goal is to raise Autism Awareness, reduce criticism and judgment and help families with children on the autism spectrum develop a network of like-minded people and supports, locally and beyond.
CAN’s mission is to reduce challenges and barriers to allow families with a child with Autism to have a “normal” family outing or experience, reducing sensory input and creating inviting environments for children with Autism and their parents. #YesYouCAN