ICYMI: Support for parents of autistic children - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

ICYMI: Support for parents of autistic children


Autism is a disorder that impairs one's ability to communicate or interact, and there's more than 200,000 cases reported in the US each year.

Heidi Hairston and Kasondra Ramsey work for the Parents as Teachers program. Over time, they've met several families with autistic children. Hairston says that's why they're planning a support meeting. "And this group that we're having, just happens to be one of the resources we think that might be needed." Hairston and Ramsey have autistic children of their own. Ramsey describes the challenges of raising an autistic 5-year-old. "You may have heard autistic children throw real (big) tantrums. For example... he didn't get ice cream one night, because he didn't eat dinner. He... it was like, 30 minutes of just screaming."  
Because autism affects different kids in different ways, Ramsey says, there's no two cases exactly alike. "The difference between mine and Heidi's sons. See, Tobey came right up to you and talked to you. A lot of autistic kids cannot socialize with others."
Hairston's 13-year-old son, David, has won several competitions in the Special Olympics. "He will go to the county Special Olympics... he is intimidated to go to the state level. Because there's too many people! He has a social anxiety."
Ramsey hopes the new support group can meet on a monthly basis. "We're going to focus on... parent interaction with other parents. What is your child doing right now that you need help with? Can I help you? Maybe my child is doing this."

The first meeting for the autism support group will take place Wednesday, from 4:00-5:30 pm, at the McDowell County Public Library. And parents are welcome to bring their children along.

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