Understanding the Puzzling Pieces of Autism

AUTISM: A New Word In Our Vocabulary

Burkgren

Clarice & Robert Burkgen – Charter Board Members

CHARTER BOARD MEMBER WRITES BOOK ABOUT AUTISM AND ASI

My husband and I heard the term “Autism” for the first time in 1975.  What we didn’t know was how very little was actually known about autism at that time.  It literally was the dark ages.  Five to ten in 10,000 were the numbers cited then; today that figure has skyrocketed to 1 in 68 births!  We did find out that our daughter would be eligible to start school at age three in 1975 because of a new federal law that had been passed … PL94-142 guaranteed an appropriate, free, public education for all handicapped children.   Finding another parent was not easy, nor very little reading material was available … and this was before internet!

Our search for others led us to becoming Charter Members when the Iowa Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of Iowa) formed in 1978. We retired in May 2014 after serving 35 years in various capacities.

This story then is about our experiences with our daughter and with our involvement with an organization seeking ways to make life more meaningful and enjoyable for those on the Autism Spectrum.   To me it was very clear that a history both of Autism in its early days, as well as what has been accomplished by the Autism Society of Iowa in it 35 year History needed to be written.  Thus the book became reality.

From a time when “Autism” was barely acknowledged our fight was not for naught!  BUT there still remains much work yet to be done … It is my hope that parents, professionals and others will take up the challenge to advance “Autism” even further for those with ASD.

Clarice Burkgren, Author

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