BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — According to the CDC, autism is a developmental disability that can affect a person's ability to communicate, process information, and interact with others.
About 1 in 44 children have been identified with this disability, so with those numbers, an effort is underway to continue to raise awareness to help people impacted.
Tuesday morning, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month in Kern County, which looks to highlight the people impacted by autism.
Ramona Puget has two autistic sons and tells people that help is out there, and that people don’t have to go through those challenges alone.
“Finding out that diagnosis, you’re at a loss at times. You’re just like what do I do now?”
That was the question that Ramona Puget and her husband were seeking answers to the minute they were informed that their son was diagnosed with autism.
“It was difficult on my husband and I both because we were young parents, so having to go through that and trying to figure out what does our son need, what services of support are available in Kern County. At the time, there wasn’t a lot but there was some.”
Puget is the Executive Director of Kern Autism Network and said that one of the most challenging parts of being a parent of two autistic sons was making sure the school system was providing everything her sons needed.
She even made a change in her education to better understand what it is was that she needed to do as a parent.
“I ended up changing my field of what I wanted to do in life and ended up going into psychology and getting that completed, and then better understanding of what was needed based on the cognition and the way the brain functions. It really helped to give me round about idea as to what I needed to do as a parent.”
Puget said that autism is nothing more than just a label and that it didn’t change her duty as a mom.
“That label means absolutely nothing. That means that yeah, you’re going to have to work a little bit harder but who doesn’t? As a parent, who doesn’t have to work hard to take care of their children?”
Puget adds that having resources available for those in need is vital in this type of parenting. She said that having a helping hand from even a member of her church made all the difference for her and her family.
“She helped immensely to get him through early pre-school and early intervention. Getting him into a program at Richardson center.”
Puget encourages all who are seeking help with an autistic relative or friend to not be afraid and reach out.