Cleveland City Council gives those with autism a chance to shine

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland City Council marked World Autism Day on Monday with a student art show at city hall.

Art from more than 50 students at the Steps Center for Excellence in Autism was showcased in the Cleveland City Hall rotunda, where it will remain for the rest of the month. April is Autism Awareness Month.

"The kids have such amazing strengths and talents and interests. Lots of our kids are focused on art. Some are focused on music," said owner of the Steps Center Jennifer Might. "We have fifth and sixth graders who are budding inventors. So their brains are wired differently than typically developing children, but they bring so many gifts to the world."

The Steps Center provides support for children with autism. Those with autism can have problems with communication, social interactions and repetitive behaviors.

"He would communicate, but he wasn't communicating in the traditional sense," said Michael Moguel, Sr., whose son, Michael, has autism. "He wouldn't tell us ‘Mommy, Daddy I'm hungry.' He would just stand there and shout or yell or run and hit us."

Moguel said his son has blossomed since becoming involved with the Steps Center.

"Him becoming more able to communicate himself to you. He always was Michael, but now we understand it a lot better," he said.

Autism affects mostly boys, with more than 2 million people diagnosed with it in the United States.

Cleveland Browns Stadium will be glowing with blue lights for the entire month of April during the third annual Light It Up Blue campaign through Autism Speaks . Other buildings around the city, like Terminal Tower and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will also be bright blue.

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