Why I hope you'll walk for Autism Speaks - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Why I hope you'll walk for Autism Speaks

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

I get asked all the time, "why do you volunteer for Autism Speaks?" and "Do you have a child with Autism?" The answer to both is no, but one in 54 boys will be diagnosed by age 8.

As a dad to four boys, I feel like I sort of beat the odds. Don't know why, just did. It is why I volunteer.

I've learned a lot about the disorder over the past few years. Having a child on the Autism spectrum means different things to different families. Some with the diagnosis have a great chance of leading a life we would all want for our children. Some will need help their entire life.

We know early diagnosis is important. We know the right kind of therapy makes a difference when started at a young age. We also know the therapy is expensive, but when it's your child you're willing to spend all you have because it can help.

These are the same families who will show up in droves to the Walk Now for Autism Speaks this Saturday at zMax Dragway in Concord. They will dig deep again. This time to donate. Maybe those of us not directly affected can help.

Autism Speaks has funded more than $100 million in research. Real progress is being made in tracking down causes, in diagnosing children earlier and in offering them better treatment therapies. A donation of $20 would be a great start and a big help in keeping the momentum going.

I've talked to dozens of parents over the past few years. One thing always sticks with me. They don't consider themselves, or their children victims. They just want us to understand what they're going through, the unique qualities of their child and they want us to accept their son, or daughter for who they are.

All parents have similar goals. They want their child to play a sport, an instrument. They want them to have best friends, get good grades, earn a diploma. With your help more children can reach those goals. You can learn more about Autism by watching the WBTV News Special "Autism: Answers and Understanding."  You can also make a donation to my walk team by clicking here. You can create your own team and learn about the Carolinas Walk Now for Autism Speaks by clicking here.

Leaders at Autism Speaks often say one in 88 can't wait. I hope you agree.

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