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Campus spotlights Autism Awareness month

April 17, 2019

UWRF hosted the Moreland family to talk about their experiences, struggles and triumphs with Autism on April 2, for National Autism Awareness day. The month of April is dedicated to raising awareness for autism and the Moreland family has dedicated a large part of their life to raising awareness and helping others.

The family has been a resource for others who deal with raising a child with Autism and act as a support system for families. Their mission states that “by sharing our family story of living with autism and mental health concerns, we hope to inspire others to survive, live and thrive in today’s society.”  Lauri Moreland and her daughters Lindsey and Brittany Moreland, spoke about some of their struggles and their experiences with autism and overall mental health awareness.

Lauri Moreland (left), her daughters Lindsey and Brittany, and husband Todd visited UW-River Falls to speak about living with autism. (Photo courtesy of Lauri Moreland)
Lauri Moreland (left), her daughters Lindsey and Brittany, and husband Todd visited UW-River Falls to speak about living with autism. (Photo courtesy of Lauri Moreland)

Lauri Moreland talked about her early experiences with autism, when her daughter was first diagnosed. She expressed that the family endured many difficulties and went through struggles when tackling the obstacles that autism had come with. Lauri Moreland talked about how there were many times that her daughter had extreme tantrums and had a hard time bonding with friends and family.

When speaking about their experiences, the Moreland family stressed the importance of education and understanding when it comes to autism. By raising awareness, they aim to promote an educational environment and the “importance of effective communication and relationships with educators, doctors, and family.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), has grown to become more prevalent in recent decades. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “about one in 59 children are diagnosed with ASD and is about four times more common in boys than girls.” Because of the rise in these statistics, the family finds it important to educate and raise awareness.

Brittany Moreland, also spoke about her experiences with having a sister on the autism spectrum. She talked about how bonding with her sister at a young age was slightly different but she finds herself very lucky to have experienced these differences while growing up. She spoke about helping her sister with different therapy techniques as children and how this continued as they grew together. Brittany Moreland also deals with mental health concerns, as well as epilepsy. She also expressed the importance of awareness in regards to those struggles.

Lindsey Moreland, was diagnosed with autism at a young age and she talked about her personal experiences. She explained the difficulties she has had as well as her victories. The family made it apparent that celebrating the small triumphs, as well as the big achievements, is important and has made their overall experience more positive. Lindsey Moreland expressed that she has found her many talents and is very open to talking about her experiences and raising awareness.

The Moreland family wrote a book about their lives, their experiences and how they have overcome their struggles with mental health and autism. Autism: A Family Lives Beyond the Label, The Lindsey Moreland Story, is a resource for others who are going through similar situations and for anyone who wants to become educated on the topic. The Moreland family aims to inspire others to live, thrive and overcome any struggles they may be enduring and serve as a support system.