On Monday, Borough President Eric Adams donated dozens of hats, scarves, and blankets crocheted by borough residents to Brooklyn adults and children with autism. The items are intended to serve a calming purpose to those with sensory abnormalities, which is a common symptom of autism.
The program and donations were made possible through the borough’s partnerships with New York Family for Autistic Children, Brooklyn Autistic Center, Gallop NYC and Autism Speaks.
The items were crocheted as part of a weekly program at Borough Hall called Brooklyn Crochet for a Cause.
“Behind every child with special needs, there is a special parent and there’s a special group of people who understand that just because the child has autism, doesn't mean he or she doesn’t want dignity or respect,” Adams said.
The United States Center for Disease Control states that 1-in-68 children in the United States has autism, according to a 2014 study which looked at 8-year-old children.
But with early detection and intervention, better outcomes are possible, including improved language, social, and adaptive functioning, and a reduction in inappropriate behaviors.
While recent statistics were not available for New York City, a 2012 study found New York to be inline with the national average, which was 1-in-88 at the time,
“This is an issue that cuts across all economics, ethnicities,” Adams said. “It doesn't matter where you are, it’s an issue that we must come together and fight and find a solution.”
Adams, in conjunction with Autism Awareness month, is hosting a day of resources for parents and guardians of children with autism and physical disabilities on May 21.
“The program also allows us to have conversations, it allows us to talk to each other,” Adams said.
The program allows parents the chance to get together and talk and share stories and experiences. While the borough can provide resources, it can’t provide them the support of another parent that knows exactly what the daily struggles are, so instead, Adams is using his resources to bring all of those parents together.
Adams was joined at the press conference by the Brooklynites that crocheted the hats, scarves and blankets, as well as the organizations supporting the efforts and those that will receive the warm gifts as well as their teachers and loved-ones.