Walk Now for Autism ~ Why I Walk

I am a parent of an AUTISTIC child.

On August 19, 2012 will be the 6th annual WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS. This will be our sixth year walking, the fifth year as our own team; J-Walking.


My son Jason was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder roughly around the age of two. Now, at the age of nine, he has surpassed many expectations. He is a funny, lovable, little boy who loves to draw, watch movies, and, most of all, loves his iPad. I’m amazed how he can navigate the IPAD and can type and text at lightning speed. I have to go to him if I can’t figure something out. Jason loves to swim. He got a pool for his birthday this year along with a swing set. At this time last year, Jason could not comprehend using his legs to swing and insisted on being pushed. Now he does it all by himself.

It’s only been a little over a year that Jason has been fully potty trained. This is very common among children with autism. These are obstacles that are huge for us but so small for others. Jason will be attending the STARS program in Middlefield this fall and will be an aspiring third grader. I am so proud of how far he has come.

I participate in the WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS to honor my son and all his accomplishments and for all the other families affected by this disorder.

Autism is on the rise. Currently, every 11 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder. These can include diagnoses of high functioning to non-verbal along with self injury, gastrointestinal complications, and life long disorders. These children are prone to wandering with many resulting in death due to drowning, car accidents, and even being hit by trains. I walk because awareness is so important and very close to my heart.

Autism does NOT get the recognition it rightly deserves, nor does it get the proper funding, even though more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than aids, diabetes, and cancer combined!

Join us on walk day for many friendly activities including Flower the Clown, a bounce house, Jason Nicholas (channel 5 weatherman), mascots Moon Dog (Cavs) and Slider (Indians), and the St. Ignatius Clown Club, and Cheer World. Families will also have the chance to learn more about services available within the Autism Resource Fair and enjoy the sensory activities for kids. The overall goal for the Cleveland Walk Now for Autism Speaks is $410,000.

Please join us for this great cause! Donations can be made on the walk site or if you choose to join our team, please register, TEAM J-Walking. Any walker who raises $150.00 will receive a Walk Now for Autism Speaks shirt the day of the event. 

We will also be setting up a booth at the Troy Homecoming on Saturday August 18 with a raffle to raise money for our team. All proceeds benefit Autism Speaks. If anyone is interested in donating a gift basket or gift cards or would simply like to help out, please contact me at jasons_ma@yahoo.com


Rachel Dannemiller
Author: Rachel Dannemiller

Rachel is a lifelong resident of Geauga County. She is married to Tom and has a son Jason, and a dog named Harley. Rachel and her family are devoted to bringing autism awareness to the community and they are organizing the local Autism Speaks event in Burton this year.