Education and acceptance for all. That’s one family’s goal when it comes to spreading the word about Autism Spectrum Disorder.
That’s also the goal of Minot’s second annual Walk for Autism.
The Bye Family is one of many who will be at Oak Park for the walk on Saturday, April 27.
12-year-old Amelia Bye was a toddler when she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. KX News reporter Becky Farr met with her mom and her two therapists to learn more about ASD.
“It was a big learning experience for our family,” Donna Bye said.
As Amelia approached her second birthday, her family noticed some developmental delays.
She became disengaged, choosing to interact less and less with family or at daycare.
Bye said, “They let us know, pretty much within the first five minutes of our appointment, that Amelia was on the Autism Spectrum.”
Like any disability, Bye says education is key. She hopes that knowing more about it will lead to more acceptance.
“There are certain outbreaks that people will accept from a toddler, but a 10 to 12-year-old,” said Bye. “People may say ‘well that’s just poor parenting.'”
Because it’s a spectrum, every case is unique.
“They say, if you’ve met one kid with Autism, you’ve met ONE kid with Autism,” said Kelly Drevecky, Amelia’s occupational therapist and owner of Prairie Therapy.
He said some people have typical traits, some don’t.
Struggles can range from sensory disorders to social communication.
“Kids with autism want to communicate,” said Kylee Geer, Amelia’s speech pathologist at Minot Center for Pediatric Therapy. “They want to have friendships, they want to interact with other people. They might not always have the means to do that, but they want you to interact with them.”
Amelia has her struggles. For example, she’s non-verbal.
But, she’s also learned how to ride a bike, dress, and feed herself, which may not be things other kids her age with ASD can do.
Her mom says maintaining a routine will continue to help Amelia along the way.
“Those things in a repetitive situation, over the course of months or years, become neutralized or become part of a routine and they’re more willing to accept them,” Bye explained.
“So that if you are going to a restaurant and maybe it closes or your favorite server doesn’t work there anymore, those children will be able to adapt to that change and process it as a typical child might instead of it becoming a behavior issue.”
If you want to support Autism awareness, go to Oak Park on Saturday, April 27 for the walk.
Registration starts at 10 and the walk will begin at 10:30.
There will be police, firefighters, airmen, and all their vehicles to explore will be there, too.
All proceeds will go to Wings for Autism, Wings for All, a national program coming soon to Minot International Airport that will better prepare kids with ASD for the stresses of traveling.