April marks Autism Awareness month and many events will happen in honor of these special children. Here, in Lincoln County, we are proud to say that there are local means out there for parents and help for anyone who is struggling with autism. Local support group, Resources 4 Autism meets on the second Friday of every month at the Fire House in Troy to discuss everyday struggles. “Personally, I think it’s one of the best things the community has ever seen,” spoke Jeanie Spiller, a mother of an 11-year-old autistic boy. “My son Jared, and myself have really been able to find ways to cope with autism and found ways to work well with each other. He has made great improvements since we have found the right methods to use and the right people to talk to.”
Resources 4 Autism is a group of parents who have been through, or are going through, the same things and have the knowledge to help one another like a family unit. They also provide special guest speakers on subject matters that the parents want to hear about. “The support from the group is great,” said Kelly Darter, a mother of seven year old, Ryan, who is autistic. The family unit builds a strong bond as they exchange experiences and phone numbers for extra support that might be needed to get through a rough day.
“I didn’t even know about some of the organizations that were out there to help until I came to my first meeting,” Tish Skibinski, mother of Ryan, a two and a half year old, said.
Resources 4 Autism is about forming a solid support group and making sure families know that they aren’t alone in their daily battles. Those who participate in the meetings offer advice, medical suggestions, help with coping and share past experiences with those who might be going through the same battles they overcame. “It’s important that the community knows that they can come to us to learn about autism and to know that they can call us for support when they need it,” said JoEllen Kessler, of Resources 4 Autism. Resources 4 Autism not only provides everyday support, but they can also help financially. They have established a grant that can go to help an autistic child ranging from medical bills, camps, trips, therapy and everything in between. “We would love to help anyone who has an autistic child and is in need in the Lincoln County area,” explained Kessler. The grant money is provided through generous donations and fundraisers that happen throughout the year.
There isn’t a cure for autism and no two autistic children are alike. Many symptoms can be seen as “normal” for certain age groups but become less “normal” as the child continues to do it as they grow older. “We were told by several different groups that we were not eligible for help, either because of my income, or because they didn’t see his autism signs. We had gone through testing and the tests show that Ryan is autistic and we still couldn’t get the help we needed,” said Skibinski. Resources 4 Autism can help with situations like this, and can also suggest different avenues to take.
The biggest day fundraising event that Resources 4 Autism has is their annual Community Walk. This year will be the third annual Resources 4 Autism Community Walk and will take place on April 27 beginning at 11 a.m. at Clonts Field. The walk will be around the football field where the children will be able to play and enjoy a safe fun filled afternoon with their family and friends. There will be hot dogs, chips, and bottled water for all those who are participating. There will also be educational booths, vendors, a bounce house, face painting and much more! “It’s just a great way to show the community you care while also having a great time outside with the family!” Kessler explained. For more information on the Resources 4 Autism Grant, meetings or to be a part of the Community Walk, contact JoEllen Kessler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 636-248-1728. There is no registration required but donations are welcome.