A puzzle piece has many symbols in life and we found our missing piece in March 2015 when our son Reid, who is intelligent, outgoing, energetic and full of joy and love, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with a language impairment.
ASD is a broad disability that ranges from mild stereotypical characteristics of autism to severe characteristics that affect a person’s cognitive ability and linguistic skills. For Reid, it means his cognitive ability is normal and in some areas above average, but he has difficulties with functional social communication and sensory processing. For “normal” people, social interaction comes naturally, but Reid still needs to learn how to use his words. He is able to speak but has trouble carrying on a proper conversation.
As for his sensory processing challenges, at times he has trouble filtering sensory input but he does cope and self-regulate like most of us. He is sensitive to loud noise so he covers his ears; when he tries new food, he smells it first; he likes to watch things like fans and helicopter blades spin.
As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We believe this. Educating others about autism is one thing, but without the support we have had from our family and friends, various intervention programs, recreational group activities, day care, and the hardworking staff at Wadena Elementary School guiding Reid’s growth and development, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
On March 20, we want to give back and celebrate the awareness our community has about ASD by creating our first annual fundraiser called Hopping Towards Awareness, which will be held at the school. This event is about springing into the Easter spirit, with an autistic twist. There will be various Easter activities like face-painting, Easter basket decorating, pictures with the Easter Bunny, a petting zoo with bunnies, an Easter egg hunt, and much more. All charitable donations will go toward Team Reid for Saskatoon’s 2016 Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada.
We have participated in this walk for the past two years as supporters of Team Jayden. It is one of the most wonderful, rewarding experiences for a family.
Please lend your support by joining us at the Team Reid fundraiser. Watch for advertisements in upcoming print editions of the Wadena News, and join us at the March event.
Submitted by Melissa Kereluik and Maury Yablonski