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Youth Caring Making A Difference

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

April is Autism awareness month. The undertaking of the role of caregiver for a loved one with Autism can be a life-long experience. Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can affect a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees. However, many individuals that have been diagnosed with Autism are living a full and productive life. For example, Dan Aykroyd – Comedian Actor, Steve Jobs – former CEO of Apple, Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, Benjamin Banneker – African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist, Thomas Edison – Inventor, Albert Einstein – Mathematician and Scientist to name a few.

Autism affects an individual throughout their lifespan. However, research shows that early diagnosis and outreach will assure that individuals with Autism will receive the services they need. The followings are early signs of Autism: speaks later than typical or not at all (nonverbal), repetition in language or movement, such as repeating the same word or sounds, hand flapping, or any repeated movement, atypical nonverbal communication, including avoiding eye contact, giving few facial expressions, or having a monotone. In addition they usually prefer solitary or parallel play rather than engaging in associative or cooperative play with other children, extremely distressed by changes, including new foods or changes in schedule, preference for predictable, structured play over spontaneous or make-believe play, strong, persistent interest on specific topic, part of a toy, or item.

Faith, a youth caregiver, joined the SHARKS program (youth caregivers initiatives) when she was in the seventh grade. She began to care for her 22-year-old brother Jesse with Autism at a very young age. She helps Jesse to get dressed, prepare breakfast and snacks, helps him on and off the bus, and makes sure his environment is safe. Faith is presently attending the University of Vermont and expresses how much she misses Jesse. Faith is a student, daughter, community activist and a caregiver. She was able to manage her multiple roles and graduated from high school with a 91.59% academic average.

If you know a youth caring for an individual who is ill, disabled or elderly, please tell them about COME’s youth caregivers initiative program-SHARKS. We can be reached at 718-379-3159 or by email at To learn more about Autism and available resources contact Autism Speaks at

Please join us for our monthly 45mins informational session. The next 3 sessions (April, May and June) will be held on Tuesdays NOT Wednesdays. Tuesday, April 20, 2021 will be on the Topics: MD and lab technology visits in the comfort of your home. Learn more about Medicare Advantage and Managed Long Term Care programs. (MLTC) Please RSVP online at

COME is here for you. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. 718-379-3159 or

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