Autism Walk Spreads Awareness | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 8/13/2011
"They just don`t know. They don`t know what it is. And that`s why we are here because we want to tell you what it is," said Sherris Richards, executive director of North Dakota Autism Connection.
About 300 people laced up to spread awareness about autism. While the mile trek around the course may have been tiring in the heat, many of these early risers are used to dealing with much more difficult things.
"The hardest part of having autism is learning at school," said 9-year-old Cain Kaiser from Hazen.
Cain was diagnosed with autism when he was four-years-old. He says being at school can be tough sometimes because of the constant change and interaction with other kids.
"There are good days and bad days. The good days are great. The bad days can be pretty tough," said Dawn Kaiser, Cain`s mom. "And we have learned together as a family how to try and manage some of the bad days and rearrange some of the difficulties to try and make success for him every day."
Richards knows about bad days. She also has a child with autism.
"They`re looked at like he`s bad. She`s bad. They`re mean. And they`re really not," Richards said. "They`re the sweetest people, but they just don`t know how to control their behavior and their emotions."
"A lot of times the disability is not outwardly noticeable and so things like temper tantrums in a restaurant may not necessarily be a temper tantrum," Dawn said. "It may be that the child has a disability and is just having difficulty coping."
"Kids that don`t have autism can help kids that do have autism communicate with other children," Cain said.
There`s no cure for autism. And while Dawn would like for a cure to be found, she wouldn`t want anything to change her son. "When we have good days and good times, we treasure them even more," she said.
The walk raised about $10,000. The proceeds go to North Dakota Autism Connection.