Why I Walk for Autism Speaks
Our family and friends walk so that George can stay with his classmates at WGHS, keep learning and growing and eventually become a valued member of our community. We walk to continue to provide understanding and acceptance throughout the community of kids like George: to stop the funny looks from strangers and help George realize the potential of employment, friends and meaning in every day activities.
Diagnosed pretty early (his older brother had our autism radar on high alert), our family wasn’t afraid of the autism label that George’s teachers were afraid to speak of when he transitioned from “young child with a developmental delay” to “autism.” We knew that lots of knowledgeable people could help us navigate the terrain. We asked for help and school was there to answer questions. When George was 4, we attended our first Autism Speaks walk. There were 6 of us and George’s Gang was a small gang indeed. Grandma Z embroidered a few shirts with “George’s Family & Friends” stitched on the front and we hit Forest Park on a beautiful autumn day.
Some days are still rough – puberty is not kind to non-verbal kids with autism – but we keep logs, track behaviors, share information and reach out and surround ourselves with people who know George and want to help. Although the milestones are different for George -- no academic accolades or perfect ACT scores loom -- watching him grow and be a part of a school field trip to tBusch Stadium, summer camps at the J, a Special Olympics bowling extravaganza or just be a Saturday morning regular at Schnucks has been meaningful for him -- and for us. Our family and friends continue to walk so that George and kids like him can find a productive, meaningful, and happy place in the community.
I earned my Walk Tee Shirt!
Striving to become Grand Club member
Share Your Encouragement
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