Working to Bring Autism Research to the Forefront

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 6, 1998 | Go to article overview

Working to Bring Autism Research to the Forefront


Ann Gay of LaGrange Park writes:

I have a son, his name is Ryan. He is a beautiful little 5-year-old boy with brown hair and blue eyes. He laughs and plays. I have never heard him say "Mommy." Ryan is autistic.

Approximately 40,000 families are dealing with autism today. It affects, among other things, the sensory system. The way you and I receive input from the world is through our senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.

In an autistic person, this whole system is impaired. Some senses may be overly sensitive, leaving the person to shut down to protect themselves from overload, while other senses are undersensitive, sending very little or no input to the brain. Like approximately half of autistic people, my son does not speak.

I recently got to a point in my life where I was frustrated. I felt helpless. I've heard that autism is more common than childhood cancers, cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy, yet it was receiving less than 5% of the government funding these other diseases were receiving.

I knew there was no known cause or cure for autism. In addition to this, the therapies and vitamins needed to help my son learn to cope with life a little better were draining our finances. I prayed.

My prayers were answered in two ways. First of all, by chance I became involved in an organization called Cure Autism Now (CAN). It was formed by parents whose purpose is not only to raise awareness of autism, but to raise the funds needed for research so we can find a cause, and more importantly, a cure. …

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