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Locals talk about autism

Members of Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park talked about autism during their last meeting for this year, which was held on Tuesday, December 2.
“It touched a personal chord with a lot of people,” said Eric Ulrich, president of the association, who is also running to represent City Council District 32.
He invited members of the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC), an organization based in Ozone Park that provides services for autistic children and their families, because several of the association members are either related to or befriend families that have autistic children, Ulrich explained.
NYFAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Baumann, talked during the meeting about the symptoms of autism, a brain development disorder that impairs social skills, and the assistance available to families with autistic children.
Symptoms of the condition, which typically develops when kids are between 18 and 24 months old, include isolation, lack of eye contact, hand flapping and rocking, Baumann explained.
Baumann himself has an autistic son who is now 15. “Back then the pediatricians didn’t know,” he said, explaining that it took about a year for his son to be diagnosed.
Baumann and his wife also had a hard time finding assistance for their autistic son and this is why he started NYFAC, which offers clinical, recreational training and support services. “No family should ever feel like they have been left alone,” Baumann said.
“He brought out a lot of points that enlightened quite a few people, I’m sure,” said Claire Kramer, a member of Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park. Kramer, of Woodhaven, is the grandmother of three autistic children whose ages range from 3 to 10.
About 6,000 children in Queens are autistic, said Baumann, explaining that his organization provides services to families from the entire city.
It was good for the association members to see the good work done by local entities, said Ulrich. “We always neglect to remember that there are a lot of organizations in our neighborhood that help people,” Ulrich explained.

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