Autism Awareness Month used to understand disorder

CLEVELAND - April is National Autism Awareness Month and a Parma mom is encouraging people to get involved in understanding the disorder and its sweeping impact on those affected and their families.

More than 50,000 people and their families are affected by autism spectrum disorders in Ohio. The disorders are chronic, neurologically based development disabilities with the cause still unknown.

Those with the disorder communicate, interact and behave in nontraditional ways and often have problems with social, emotional and learning skills.

The number of children diagnosed annually with autism spectrum disorders have grown and now is one in 110.

Parma mother and author Maria Fiala Bohuslawsky recently published a children's book aimed at promoting autism awareness, tolerance and acceptance.

The book is called Zack – Through the Eyes of a Lovable Hippo with Asperger's.

"It offers humor, friendship, tolerance and a sense of belonging to any child who reads it or any parent or teacher who read sit to them," said Bohuslawsky.

Bohuslawsky and her son Alex published the book, which can now be purchased on Amazon.

"Our goal is to get one million likes on our Zack the Hippo Facebook page," Bohuslawsky explained. "We want to spread autism spectrum disorder awareness all around the world!"

Bohuslawsky is a mother of three boys. She taught 5th grade for eight years before taking an extended maternity leave. Fully thinking she'd return to teaching, life dealt her something different. Her second son was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2008 and her third son diagnosed with Autism in 2011. It was the latter diagnosis that made her want to spend the rest of her life fighting for the rights of her children and making sure they live a happy, healthy life with the best education possible.

Zack the Hippo on Facebook:

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