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World Autism Awareness Day

Dear Readers: Today, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a complex and multifaceted developmental condition.

There’s a lot to know about autism, and a lot that is not yet understood about it. For one, autistic people, as do others, use all of their senses: taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell. But autistic folks’ sensory fields can get overloaded. They may not be able to easily process sensations, and it can affect their capacity to communicate with other people.

World Autism Awareness Day affords an opportunity for groups to come together to raise awareness and share research and treatment plans to help people with autism. Check out www.AutismSpeaks.org for more information. — Heloise

P.S. The idea that autism is caused by vaccines has been debunked. It tends to run in families, if Mom or Dad is older or if pregnancies are spaced too closely together.

BE COUNTED

Dear Readers: It’s census time, when the formal count of the population of the entire United States is taken.

Our Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution that every 10 years the population is to be counted.

So why is it important to know the population? Simply put, while every state has two Senators, the census determines the number of seats each state will have in the House of Representatives, based on a state’s population. And the census can help determine dollar distribution for government programs.

What questions will be asked? The number of people living with you, their ages, races, national origins, genders and their relation to you. You also will be asked whether you own your home or rent it. Don’t worry; your information is protected.

By now, you should have received something in the mail about the census; don’t ignore it — by law, you must participate. You can respond online, by mail or by phone. If you haven’t responded, the census Bureau will send someone to your home beginning in May. For more information, go to www.2020census.gov. — Heloise

CLIP THIS

Dear Heloise: I read your column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which just went digital. I figured out how to do some puzzles without printing. I use the clipping tool (you can find online for removing background images) with the pen and eraser. It came out a little messy until I got good with the mouse, but it works. — Vikki S., Little Rock, Ark.

FRESHER BANANA

Dear Heloise: Someone told me this, and I have found it effective: While your bananas are just beginning to get ripe and still a bit green, wrap each one in a paper towel and put them in your refrigerator crisper drawer. They may change color on the outside, but when you want to use them, just remove the peel. They will stay fresher longer. — Gloria I., Berne, Ind.

TWO HINTS FOR ONE

Dear Heloise: I’ve loved your and your mother’s column for ages. I am sensitive to perfumes and have found both detergent and dryer sheets in unscented versions. Both of my neighborhood supermarkets carry their brand of dryer sheets in unscented.

Second, I use the zip-up heavy plastic bags from sheet sets for my purses. It keeps them dust free. The bags come in many sizes, and so do my bags. — Maxine W., via email

Maxine, great idea. I also use those sturdy bags to protect my cowboy boots from dust. — Heloise

MIRROR, MIRROR

Dear Readers: Mirrors are wonderful to decorate with because they reflect what you already have in the room and can make a room appear larger. Place accordingly to see it all. Also, lay flat to use as a tray. — Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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