The Autism Walk at Ford Field

The Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation joined others on October 4 for the Autism Walk at Ford Field in Detroit. People with autism, families, friends, caregivers, service providers, etc.  all joined together to make the day a success. The Autism Walks are held nationally and were started by the Autism Speaks, one of the biggest organizations that provide advocacy and services to people with autism.

Autism Speaks was founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright when they became grandparents of a child with autism. They started Autism Speaks about ten years ago and it has accomplished a great deal since then. They saw how much such an organization was needed. The autism walks are held to raise awareness, raise funds for research and to provide services to families with a person who has autism. 

The Pervis Foundation Team had walked in previous Autism Speaks Walks, but we did not walk last year. (I thought that I was too old). But this year, I remembered how I wished for an Autism Walk when Pervis Jr was younger and I vowed then that if we ever had such a walk, we would participate.

Pervis Jr likes to walk. He cannot talk, but his face is very expressive. If there is something that he does not want to do, his face shows it. Or his actions. I am thankful that he has become more pleasant and agreeable as he has gotten older. I would not have predicted this, as I would not have predicted that the diagnosis would increase so greatly. In 1975 when Pervis Jr was born, the diagnosis was 1 in 10,000 people. It was extremely rare and most people had not heard of autism. How has it increased so greatly? Maybe some of the  research will help answer that question. 

The walks help to raise awareness about autism. Children with handicaps are some of the most vulnerable people in society.  They are not on most peoples’ radar, but they are on my radar because I know these children. That’s why we formed the Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation. We want to do what we can to help children with handicaps who are in need. In the 40 years since Pervis Jr was born, I have heard many sad stories. At one point,  I was one of them. In my book, “Inspired By Autism” I tell of some of my challenges in being the parent of a child with autism.

We can not help everyone, but we can help someone. We have helped over 250 families since we were formed in 2009. We are nowhere near the level of Autism Speaks, but we do what we can from where we are. You can too. You don’t have to write a book or form a foundation to help people with autism. If you have family or friends who are struggling with a child handicapped by autism (and it is a struggle), see what you can do to help. Can you provide the family with dinner a couple of times a month? Can you take them to the park? Can you offer to stay with the child for a few hours so the parents can have a break. (If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then you know what they are up against).

We walk because we have hope for our children. One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:24,25. “For we are saved by hope, but hope seen is not hope. For what a man or woman seeth, why does he yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then we do with patience wait for it”.

My hope is that every family has the means to do whatever it is that their child needs. All of my hopes for Pervis Jr did not come to pass, but he is greatly loved and seems to be content, for he does not hope for much.

Until next time: May the Light of God surround you, May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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