Annual Hospital for Special Care initiative seeks stories during Autism Awareness Month

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (April XX, 2017) – California, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Minnesota and Connecticut are just some of the state’s where folks have submitted inspirational stories about living with autism to the Spectrum of Kindness online community. Now in its fourth year, Hospital for Special Care is seeking submissions from across the country during Autism Awareness Month to spotlight the people and the faces of those living with autism.

Through Spectrum of Kindness, the public is invited to share stories of kindness and inspire others by uploading stories, videos or photos - whether it’s an act of kindness in a potentially stressful public setting, a teacher that has gone that extra mile or a family that has been helped by an extraordinary caregiver.

“Spectrum of Kindness connects individuals from across the United States and creates a community dedicated to gathering and sharing real- world accounts of the everyday hurdles and joys associated with autism,” said Lynn Ricci, president and CEO, Hospital for Special Care. “Our overall goal is for these stories to serve as a catalyst that inspires others to become more informed, tolerant and giving to help make life easier for those living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”

As one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S., autism prevalence figures continue to grow. Autism, a neurological disorder characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication, socialization and behavior now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys.

A few examples of stories shared over the years include: A mother discussing how her son’s diagnosis has taught her a new way of learning and patience, a powerful bond between an autistic boy and his dog, a father explaining the kindness and understanding a restaurant staff showed for his child during a tantrum, or a grandfather sharing his excitement over the kind act of a young boy who invited his autistic grandson to his first party.

The importance of having this online community is evident in these stories and insight parent’s offer. “My advice to anyone is not to give up and remember your child has a disorder. However, the disorder is not your child,” said a mother from Alabama.

“In the end, Spectrum of Kindness sheds positive light on ASD and provides families with a sense of community and support,” added Ricci. “We’re optimistic that in its fourth year we’ll receive even more stories of inspiration and kindness from across the country.”

The Autism Center at HSC is the nation’s first and only Patient Centered Specialty Practice for autism recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its responsiveness to patients and medical colleagues, cooperation and integration with other healthcare groups and dedication to continuous improvement. The Center includes Connecticut’s only in-patient autism unit that is just one of 10 like it in the country. HSC has cared for more than 5,000 patients with autism since the Center opened in 2012.

Visit www.spectrumofkindness.org for more information and to share stories of inspiration and kindness.