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Child outsideThe CDC reports that 1 in 50 children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.) That mean that two percent of all children feel the effects of autism to some degree.

Let me fill you in on a little secret. The effects of ASD's are actually felt by many, many more people. In fact, almost every single person will feel the grips of autism at some point. Those 2% of children are surrounded by family, friends, community members, classmates, therapists, siblings, neighbors, and countless others. Each of these individuals that have contact with the child also feel the ramifications.

Yet, many people are not aware that it is in fact autism they are feeling and experiencing.

The child screaming in the grocery store while their mother hauls them out the door? The child sitting alone at the playground watching sand fall between their fingers? The schoolmate who bit your daughter yesterday? The toddler that is so unpredictable that your sister is afraid to leave home with him? The three year old at playgroup who doesn't talk? The young adult who disrupted Sunday's church service? The teenager wandering down the street who you nearly hit with your car?

duckyThe first words that might come to your mind could be brat, spoiled, weird, controlling, aggressive, lazy, bad, or wild. Any of those things could be true. Or maybe... maybe that individual has autism. Chances are that in your daily life you encounter at least one person with autism.

After lack of awareness, the primary issue that ASD families encounter is not knowing how to help their child/children.

Any parent who has received an ASD diagnosis for their child, and any parent who is undergoing the process of getting a diagnosis, can tell you that the wait time is outlandish. A good portion of the crucial early years can be spent just waiting... This is unfair and unjust when it is common knowledge that early intervention is key!

After you receive the diagnosis.... more waiting! Each child must wait on the waitlist for services. More important time lost.

child in hatThis is where QuickStart comes in. We have been fortunate enough to have been connected with the Suzanne Jacobson, and the QuickStart program. They offer free of charge services to parents with concerns about their childs development, both prior to diagnosis and after. Their mission is to "see that all children have equal opportunity to develop to their full potential through early intervention. " This is a lofty and serious goal.

It is important to mention that their pilot project KickStart is sure to be a huge success and of enormous help to us, and other families who are able to participate. For us, this program means being able to get help now, rather than having to play the waiting game. It is of the utmost importance to my husband and I to be able to help our children now! I have been doing the best I can to do speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy... but I am not a trained professional! KickStart is going work with us and help train us to be able to teach our children, and work with them now.

If KickStart could be offered to EVERY family during the waiting period for government funded services, this would be truly miraculous!

This costs money however. The program needs to be tested, tweaked, presented, approved... It is just in the pilot stages. For these reasons we have chosen QuickStart to be the ASD charity that all funds raised will go to. The money will be used to help those 1 in 50 children... and in turn, all of society.

I challenge you to do something to help! If you are able to donate, that's great! But there are other ways to help. You can volunteer for this event, or for other autism related events. You can help spread awareness, or offer support to parents of ASD children.

Or, you could just do something as simple as holding the door open for the mother carrying the toddler having a meltdown, rather than shooting glares and dirty looks.

Author - Kim K.

Visit Kim's blog, Rubber Duckies and Spoons

Grandpa and J

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Motorcycle Ride for Autism, Ottawa