Turning 'blue' for a cause
BLUE decorations and two large signs on a house in the main street of Esk have already done their job to get people talking about autism.
After seeing people fail to understand their autistic family members, Diane and David Collins decided to do their part to raise awareness of the disorder.
After decorating their Ipswich St house in Esk with blue banners and balloons, they have already got the town talking about it.
"We go over to the Club Hotel and people ask us 'What's going on with the banners?' " Mrs Collins said.
"People really don't know much about autism, so we're just trying to get people talking about it."
Their house has been decorated as part of the Light It Up Blue initiative taking place through April.
The Collins' five-year-old nephew Luke suffers from the disorder as does Mr Collins' son Craig.
"My sister lives in Brisbane and can't go anywhere with (Luke)," Mrs Collins said. "I'd like to see more support for families who have to deal with autism."
Mrs Collins said her nephew went to a special school and it had made a difference to him since he had started attending.
"And it's good for my sister," she said.
"It gives her a bit of a break."
Luke's mother, Karen Davis, said early intervention was important for autistic children.
"Go to the doctor and get help as early as you can," she said.
"Autism is about how their brain is wired - they have to learn differently."
Ms Davis said ordinary events were often very difficult for most parents of autistic children.
"I try not to go shopping with him because anything can set him off," she said.
"A haircut is so stressful.
"Other people look and don't understand what's going on when he's screaming."
Ms Davis said she was thankful for AEIOU, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing time early intervention program for children aged from two and a half to six who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
- Autism is a neural development disorder, often characterised by impaired social interaction and communications.
- Many people with autism, or other autism spectrum disorders, have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to sensations.
- Autism is more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined, with one in 160 people diagnosed.