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I want to paint a scenario to help you better understand why I am dedicating the next few months of my life to raise awareness for individuals and families affected by Autism:

You're walking in the mall and you hear a loud scream from what you think is a small child screaming for ice cream or some toy. Then you realize the screams are coming from a teenage boy who appears to be about 15 or 16, too old to be having a temper tantrum. The thought of "Why can't somebody control that kid?" crosses your mind. This is a common scenario that could be played out daily. Most people would think that he is just a poorly behaved child that needs more discipline. The reality could be that you just witnessed a child with Autism having his usual struggle surviving in his day-to-day world.
If you would like to make a donation by check or money order make it payable to Push America and send it to the following address:
Push America
P.O. Box 241368, Charlotte, NC 28224
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT AUTISM...
Autism is on a very wide spectrum and everyone is different. Just like you and I may have our similarities, we are completely different people. Children with Autism have their own preferences and identifications that make them unique. Children with Autism most likely have delayed language development, lack of eye contact, or repetitive behaviors and mannerisms. Autism can encompass a very wide range of symptoms and if you would like to read more go to the Autism Society of America website.
As I said Autism is on a very wide spectrum. A child could be diagnosed with Aspergers and still be on the "spectrum". Aspergers Syndrome is a very mild form of Autism where the difference is the severity of the symptoms. They generally have good language and cognitive skills, and most have above average intellignece, but it's their social skills that are affected. On the other end of the spectrum a child might have Fragile X syndrome, which is a genetic disorder where there is a break in the X chromosomewhich is mostly found in boys. Even though a child born with Fragile X may not be born technically Autistic, they still qualify on the spectrum because they tend to have severe Autistic tendencies. For more information on Fragile X syndrome, go to www.fraxa.org.
The difficultly with the Autism Spectrum Disorder is that it is usually not something you can "see". That child labeled with Autism is not the child you walk by in a wheelchair or see it in their physical characteristics as you do with Downs Syndrome. This has a lot of people questioning, "Why should I help them?"

Autism is a complex developmental disability. It typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. This has a very large impact on the development of social interactions and of communication skills in individuals. Autism is a "spectrum disorder" which means it affects individuals differently and their symptoms can range on a wide spectrum from mild to severe.
First of all, there is no cure for Autism. However, with early intervention and intensive therapies, children can lead full and active lives. Early intervention is where children from birth to age three receive services to better help them progress. Research in early childhood development has shown that the youngest brains are the most flexible and children allowed the opportunity of early intervention show a dramatic impact on reducing the symptoms of Autism. Thanks to these intense early interventions, consequences have shown a remarkable amount of progress in children by the time they enter kindergarten, resulting in reduction of the need for rigorous supports.
You ask, "So what's the problem?" The problem is most insurance policies will not cover the costs of therapies for children with Autism. That is why it is so important for people to donate money to the Autism Society of America. The money goes not only to research for this complex disorder, but also to provide assistance in paying for these intense therapies. Your donations can help a deserving child escape from the shadows of autism and enter a world of brighter possibilities!
All throughout our trip we are accepting donations to help individuals with severe disabilities through Push America. At the end of our trip 10% of the donations will be given to The Autism Society of America. Anything will help these two causes, from the smallest to the largest of donations. Help do your part today by making a donation to make a difference!!
Five years ago, Elijah a cute little two year-old boy, was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. He began a series of early intervention and intense therapies soon after he was diagnosed. Thanks to these multiple interventions and therapies Elijah will have the chance to enjoy a relatively normal life. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch this little child grow up and hopefully one day I will see him become a man. This incredible little boy is my nephew and my brother's world.
Due to my experiences with Elijah, I have a big place in my heart for children with special needs. This motivated me to earn a degree in special education. During college, I was lucky enough to get a job as a CAP (Community Alternative Program) worker. In this position, I had the opportunity to work closely with many amazing children who had all types of disabilities. For these reasons, I chose to raise money for individuals and families affected by Autism.
Chances are good that in our lifetime, we will know someone afflicted with this disability. One in every one-hundred children are born with a form of Autism, with a new case being diagnosed every twenty minutes. More people will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with AIDS, Diabetes, and cancer combined. This means that anyone planning on having children is at risk of having a child born with Autism. That child could be the little boy down the street, your child's classmate, your new baby sister, or maybe even your own child. Would you not want this child to have the best opportunity to live as "normal" a life as possible? With your help and the help of many others, we can try to give them a chance.