Tuesday, August 24, 2010

September 11th- Walk Now for Autism Speaks/ Southwest Missouri

Last week I took Zion for his yearly doctor’s appointment. Can you believe it has been a year since he went to the doctor? He has been totally healthy all year long…a very new experience for us compared to the years with so many health problems. Anyway, our pediatrician was so impressed with the progress he has made. She really believes that we have recovered Zion from the world of autism. The years of work have paid off!!!

Zion is a testament to early intervention. He was two years old when he was first diagnosed. He was totally non-verbal and scared of his own shadow. He is now seven and has had almost five years of therapy. He is attending second grade this next year in a neuro-typical classroom; reading on target and writing with perfect handwriting. He is gifted in math and seems to have the mindset for concrete subjects. He spends less than an hour a day in special education.

He is becoming more and more “normal”. However, as he gets older and becomes more independent his autism shows in different ways. He is becoming bit more rigid in his routine. We have to tell him in advance what the plan is or he gets upset. He does not understand past or future and has trouble with positional words. He also is having quite a few behavior problems. He gets frustrated and hits or punches. It is very difficult for him to make friends because he is way behind his peers in regards to social skills. This is my greatest concern for him. I pray that he continues to make progress in this area.

Accomplishments this year include:
Learning How to Ride his bike
• He became a wolf cub-scout.
• Went on 2 day camp-out with Jason and did not have to come home early.
• He played in a special needs softball league.
• He threw out the first pitch at the Springfield Cardinals Autism Speaks day.
• July 23rd-29th, he will attend Camp Barnabas; a special needs camp, with Hannah.
• He is taking part in our community awareness campaign called the Faces of Autism, a traveling photo exhibit of those affected with autism and their stories.

Jason and I just recently attended the Autism Speaks National Walk Conference in Virginia. We were fortunate enough to meet the people in charge, including the Chief Science Officer, Geri Dawson. We heard about all the new research that is taking place around the world, all made possible with the walk money we raise, THE MONEY YOU SEND! Some of this research is on the cusp of major breakthroughs. Just think about a world, in the future, without the negative effects of autism: A world where our kids are not lost in their own minds and able to talk and communicate with their parents and siblings.

Please consider helping us raise our goal of $3000 for team Zion’s Tribe: Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2010.
Two ways to help:
Donate to Jason or me as individual walkers:
Or log on to Face book and Follow the Puzzle link on my Page

Or Join the Team:
• Join and get a free Autism Speaks Silicone bracelet.
• Raise $100 and get a Zion’s Tribe T-Shirt
• Each $25 after that you get entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card (Target, Sears, or Home Depot)

We want to thank you in advance for all the support you all have shown us over the last five years. We want to make a difference in the lives of others with autism and we can do that with your help.

Sincerely, Tara, Jason, Hannah, Zion and Caleb

Where your Money Goes:
Research, Advocacy, Awareness, and Community Services
As of March 2009

Research: Autism Speaks has committed over $98 million in grants to support 773 promising research projects and fellowships into the causes and treatments of autism. The investment in these research grants alone has been leveraged into nearly $153 million in NIH and other funding.

Advocacy: Missouri is one of 21 states who have identified State Insurance Reform as a priority this legislative session. In March, 2009 Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 357/198 UNANIMOUSLY passed out of their committees. Federal Advocacy is also a priority of Autism Speaks and our families, as they reach out to their federal senators and representatives to foster support of the ABLE Accounts Act of 2009. Autism Speaks will continue to support the effects of the Combating Autism Act and Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act to ensure federal dollars are appropriated for autism research and services for families.

• As a result of the award-winning Autism Speaks “Odds” campaign in partnership with the Ad Council, there has been a 43 percentage point increase in public awareness of ASDs.
• In December 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day.
• In Missouri, Autism Speaks volunteers and staff organize a number of Autism Awareness Days

Community/Family Services: These grants help community organizations expand existing programs to serve more individuals with autism, and create new programs that demonstrate true innovation in providing services in one of the following areas of need: Education, Recreation/Community Activities, Equipment/Supportive Technology or Young Adult/Adult Services.

• 100-Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families – this free kit provides helpful, personalized information which includes local resources, support groups, where and how to find services, local conferences and recreational activities (also available in Spanish).
• School Community Toolkit – available online to assist members of the school community in understanding and supporting students with autism.
• Dental Tool Kit: Autism Speaks has teamed up with Colgate and Philips-Sonicare to create a dental guide and video to provide tips for improving oral hygiene at home, as well as information about how parents and dental professionals can make a visit to the dentist's office less stressful and more productive.
• Aspergers and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit: were created specifically for newly diagnosed families to make the best possible use of the 100 days following their child's diagnosis of autism or AS/HFA.
• Family Services Resource Guide – lists over 650 Florida resources and more nationwide. This extensive, searchable online database brings resources to families, like early intervention to adult services, and is searchable by zip code.
• Autism Response Team (ART) – the ART team is comprised of full-time, paid employees who are also parents of children with autism. The ART specialists are experienced and trained to respond to a variety of questions and concerns from families affected by autism. Call 1-800-AUTISM2 to speak with an ART representative.

Zion and Louie the cardinal.
Faces of Autism Photo Exhibit

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