The third annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks Canada will take place this year in Saskatoon on June 21 and taking the lead will be young Jayden Johnson of Margo.
Jayden dropped the ceremonial puck at a Regina Pats versus Saskatoon Blades hockey game held at Brandt Centre in Regina on Feb. 20. Left to right, Brett Stovin of the Saskatoon Blades, Jayden with parents Lee and Kerrie Johnson, and Braden Christoffer of the Regina Pats. —Photos courtesy Kerrie Johnson.
Jayden, now five-and-a-half years old, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Autism now affects one in 68 children and one in 42 boys. The numbers reflect a whopping 78 per cent increase in reported prevalence in the past six years.
Since his diagnosis, though, Jayden has improved immensely in the areas of communication, socialization and behaviour, say his parents Kerrie and Lee Johnson of Margo. Jayden did not speak until he was three years old but the hard work of weekly speech therapy sessions, one-on-one intervention and many hours his parents spent implementing various strategies to help him have led to his success.
“Jayden loves being with his family and enjoys activities like swimming, fishing, camping, and riding along in the tractors and combines at the farm,” says Kerrie. “He also enjoys Lego, reading and drawing. Recently Jayden started to play hockey and loves the sport.”
Join Team Jayden, including his parents and brother Gavin, on their walk in Saskatoon or, if you can’t make it, the family is planning a fundraiser in Wadena on April 24. If you wish to sponsor or donate to the fundraiser, contact the Johnsons at 306-324-2100.