Local Nonprofit Recognizes World Autism Awareness Day

Local Nonprofit Recognizes World Autism Awareness Day

April is Autism Awareness month and today is world Autism Awareness Day. A nonprofit group based out of Chanute, Kansas works every day to call attention to the disorder. They held an event today, where families can connect and learn from one another.

This baseball game is all about contact, not just contact between the baseball and the bat but between the community and families raising children with autism.

“We need more support through just educating others to understand our kids,” says Nikki Jacobs.

The Jacobs family started the nonprofit organization Autism Hope for Families after their daughter was diagnosed.

“You never know when a negative behavior might pop up and our child is nonverbal and she’s 6, so we’ve had to learn a whole other way of communicating with her,” says Jacobs.

The organization help families connect with one another, pay bills and get the therapy their children need. Today, the Jacobs unveiled a wall size image of the autism logo in right field where future ball fans will see it. The Neosho County Community College baseball team supports the cause, holding the game, basket auctions and concessions sales.

“Also raise some money so that we can start getting some research. It’s the most underfunded of all the epidemic type disease and we would like to see that stop,” says head coach Steve Murry.

Autism affects 1 in 68 children and it’s the fastest growing developmental disorder. But, no 2 people with autism are alike. Families involved with the group say having support within the community is key.

“I can look on the internet all day long and its extremely helpful but the best help that I can get is talking to other moms just like me and other dads who deal with it every day. They can give you advice on things they’ve tried, things that have worked, things that didn’t work and also just to be there as a support,” says Chanute resident Sarah Cadwallader. Her son was diagnosed with autism.

And they hope that support spreads to those who may not be affected personally.

“It’s just important to me that the community understand how our children see the world and learn to accept that and accept them,” says Cadwallader.

The Autism Hope for Family organization plans to open an autism center in Chanute in the near future.