I want to spread the word about Step Up 4 Autism, an initiative of my father-in-law, David Russell, who is in training to walk the Kokoda Track in July to raise awareness and funds for autism.  This is obviously a cause close to my heart as my son has high functioning autism and my nephew has Aspergers.  I am amazed at this effort as my father-in-law is working so hard to get himself ready for this mammoth task – I can only look on in wonder and awe at his determination and passion to raise funds for ASPECT (Autism Spectrum Australia) and also spread awareness of autism in all it’s forms.
My son is an amazing individual.  He is the most intelligent, funny, engaging and infuriating person I know.  He has a phenomenal memory and seems to learn most things almost by osmosis yet he has taken years to completely toilet train and still doesn’t dress himself properly.    He is a creature of habit and routine and if anything happens to upset this order he can go into meltdown and become inconsolable.  He loves to talk about his favourite interests and can discuss ATMs, public telephones, pedestrian crossings, speed humps and Disney Pixar films for as long as you let him.  He is forever asking questions and his need to know as much as he can about everything around him is insatiable and inspiring.  Despite the social, behavioural and communication difficulties that come with all ASDs, we love our son and wouldn’t change him for the world.
Please visit the Step Up 4 Autism website – it will be updated regularly and will include blogs by the walkers and by others directly affected by autism.  All funds that are raised as part of this initiative will be donated to ASPECT which does a great job in providing support, education, assistance and guidance to families with children on the spectrum.  Our son currently attends an ASPECT satellite class (a class for kids with autism located within a mainstream school) and his progress in the 3 years he has been there has been remarkable.  But there are many more kids out there who are still waiting to receive assistance and donating to this cause will help those children receive vital intervention more quickly (as early intervention is the key to better outcomes for kids with ASDs).
So, visit the site, donate if you can and spread the word – the more people who are aware of this initiative, the better!

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