BENEFITING: AUTISM SPEAKS
EVENT DATE: Nov 02, 2014
On behalf of myself and Sue, I am participating in Walk Now for Autism Speaks to help find the missing pieces of autism. I am walking to honor my son, Joseph, who was diagnosed with autism 5 years ago. It is hard to put into words what the last five years have been like for our family. Countless hours of speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA, and music therapy; countless trips to specialists for evaluation after evaluation; countless IEP meetings and assessments; trying every alternative therapy we could think of or afford. Many exhausting days, and many long nights filled with worry about the future.
Having a child with autism has been challenging and heartbreaking, but that is by no means the end of the story. For Joe is much more than a label can ever define. He is loving, affectionate, bright, and curious. He makes us laugh, and keeps us on our toes. He loves swimming, music, books and, of course, his trains. He is a whiz on the computer and anything electronic. He has a loving older sister who is his best therapist, and a devoted younger brother who is his best friend. He loves us with his whole heart, and is happiest "cuggling" (our family word for cuddle/snuggle) with us every morning when he wakes up and every night when he goes to bed.
Joe is able to attend our local elementary school where he is in a combination of autistic support classes and regular education classes. He has amazing teachers who work hard every day to help him reach his potential. We also have a fantastic home therapy team. We can't say enough about the many dedicated therapists and teachers whom Joe has worked with over the past five years. They give so much of themselves to Joe and children like Joe. We have also met many other wonderful families with children on the spectrum who share many of the same joys and struggles.
Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States affecting one in every 68 children born today. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with pediatric AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and childhood cancer combined. Research is crucial. Despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism is unknown and a cure does not exist. Our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders, and soon.
Walk Now for Autism Speaks is our chance to make a difference in the fight against autism by raising money for autism research and heightening public awareness. Please join us in our fight as we raise money to help fund essential research.
The link is attached below to where money can be donated.
With love and gratitude,
Mike and Sue Zima