April is autism awareness month, and HomeCare Management Corporation is having an event to increase awareness of the disability.
“It’s on the rise. It’s on the increase. That’s why companies like HomeCare are trying to bring awareness,” said Deborah Jordan, clinical supervisor for HomeCare. Autism spectrum disorders encompass a range of brain development disorders that impair a person’s ability to socialize and communicate. The disorders are more prevalent in males than in females.
HomeCare’s autism awareness event will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Down East Partnership for Children at 215 Lexington St. in Rocky Mount. The event will include guest speakers and activities. Childcare will be provided for children. Dinner will be provided after the speakers’ presentations.
As a Tarboro councilwoman, Jordan said she wants Tarboro residents to “be aware that there’s a diverse community that just doesn’t focus on race and nationality, that there’s people with disabilities such as autism.”
One of those people is Jordan’s 17-year-old son, Titus Jackson.
Jackson said he wants people to know that autism exists, and that there are different degrees of autism – low functional, high functional and Asperger syndrome. Jackson is high functional. His mother knew by the time he was 2 years old that he had a disability because his sentence structure was different and he was selective about who he communicated with. Jordan said her son was also attracted to “shiny objects and odd-shaped things.” Jackson is also visually and hearing impaired.
What frustrates Jackson is when people “talk to me like I’m 5 or something.” He just wants to be addressed like a “normal person.”
For children like Jackson, the HomeCare service providers work on goals developed by the parents, such as doing household tasks in a certain sequence.
Jordan knows from her interactions with her son that there are “gaps in what they (autistic people) know and what they should know.”
“Autism is a big puzzle, so educators and service providers has to work to close the gap to put the pieces of the puzzle together so people can have a better quality of life,” Jordan said. HomeCare serves children and adults with developmental disabilities, including Down’s Syndrome and traumatic brain injuries.
For adults, the corporation seeks to provide “the assistance and companionship necessary for people to be comfortable and independent as possible in their homes rather than living in institutions.” HomeCare also provides Alternative Family Living, a program that allows people with disabilities to receive care in homes with family atmospheres rather than in institutions.
HomeCare Management Corporation was incorporated in November 1993 and has several branches, one of which is in Tarboro. Rankin Whittington is president and treasurer of the corporation.
HomeCare Management Corporation is located at 1710 Howard Ave. in Tarboro. Those interested in the services HomeCare provides should call 641-0404.