Parents of children with autism help others find resources, support

A mom says books were no substitute for meeting parents with firsthand experience
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 4:08 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2022 at 5:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - April is Autism Acceptance Month, and in the Green Bay area a number of autism services are supporting parents.

One of those parents shared her experiences raising a child with autism and what support is in our community.

“It doesn’t define him. It’s who he is, but he’s just like you and I.”

Raising two sons in the Green Bay area, Kristi Lawler shares what it was like when her now-12-year-old son was diagnosed with autism at age 4.

“When my son was diagnosed we were put on a waiting list for state assistance. That waiting list was 3 years long in order to get any type of services that went through our insurance,” said Lawler.

Over the years, the number of autism services in the Green Bay area has grown tremendously, bringing more options for parents to cater to their child’s needs.

“Now that there’s more kind of community-based services and smaller company services and in-home therapists,” she said, “it’s so heartwarming that there are so many people out there fighting for someone like my child.”

One of those services is the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP), which has made an impact on the autism community. It currently serves more than 160 children with autism at its center in Green Bay as well as many others through in-home therapy and its other location in Oshkosh.

“The number of kids getting diagnosed with autism continues to increase,” WEAP assistant clinical director Jamie Schuch said. ”There’s certainly a huge need, so I’m glad to see that there’s options for everybody that they can get the services they need out there.”

Lawler says the community support groups and the services her son, Ryder, has used changed his family’s life for the better.

“You can read as many books as there are out there, but getting that first-hand experience from somebody else makes a huge difference. You have the support and you feel like you’re not alone anymore,” she said.

Local autism services

Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP)

Autism Society of Northeast Wisconsin (ASNEW)

Caravel Autism Health

Center for Autism-related Disorders

Centerpiece

Children’s Wisconsin Northeast Regional Center

Fox Valley Autism Treatment Program

Innovative Counseling

Spectrum Behavioral Health

Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training & Support (WI FACETS)

Support groups

Acceptional Minds

Bridge the Gap

CARE Cafe

Communication Pathways

SOAR Fox Cities

Social Thinkers

For more resources, including doctors who diagnose autism, therapies, and more social groups visit the Green Bay Area Mom website.

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.