Autism Awareness Month: Spreading understanding and acceptance locally

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)  — April is World Autism Awareness Month and one visual you’ll likely see is a puzzle piece. Jamie Saunders, Executive Chef at Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery, was on News13 Now to talk about how the restaurant is using those puzzle pieces to spread understanding and acceptance of autism.

According to Saunders, throughout the month of April, Johnny D’s will be hanging puzzle pieces in the restaurant and encouraging guests to take pictures with them and post them on social media. It will also be featuring a child with autism each day on its social media platforms. Johnny D’s will be selling various items such as t-shirts, cookies, and bracelets, and the restaurant will match the proceeds and donate it to a local autism group.

According to the website,, some common “red flags” of autism include:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or after
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

For more information about autism go to

To learn more about how you can get involved with Johnny D’s local fundraising efforts, go to its Facebook page.