KALAMAZOO — Parents in America today face a number of challenges in raising the nation’s next generation, having to balance increasingly demanding work schedules with children who, in the age of smartphones and iPads, are both perpetually connected and distracted.
However, these concerns pale in the face of families who have children affected with severe autism, said Scott Schrum, a longtime expert in special education and mental health.
“You take a child with a disability and you plop them in the middle of a family structure, those families literally get destroyed. That child with a disability is so time consuming for a mom and dad that their other kids get ignored, out of necessity,” he said. “Parents get divorced because the stress. Families break up because of the stress.”
Schrum and his colleagues are looking to provide a helping hand for both autistic children and their families. Help will soon arrive in Kalamazoo, in the form of the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research. The center is due to be opened in July 2012 at the former Moose Lodge on Portage Road.
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