The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha will hold a summit this weekend on autism for parents of kids with the condition. Wayne Fisher, an expert at U-N-M-C, says autism affects about one in 166 children. He says the summit is one way to inform teachers and parents who might not be able to pay the cost of learning about autism. It’s also to help parents get the treatment their kids need, and highlights the research into the causes and possible treatments for autism.
Fischer, a P-h-D, says it’s tough to get research money for autism. He says autism is ten times more common than juvenile diabetes, muscular dystrophy, childhood leukemia and cystic fibrosis combined, yet about 100 times fewer research dollars per case is spent on autism.
A daylong educational summit will be held this Saturday at Omaha’s Qwest Center, for families that want to know more about autism and how to deal with it. Gail Werner-Robinson is a financial advisor, major supporter of autism research fundraising, and the mother of two sons with autism-spectrum disorder.
She says many parents don’t understand what is affecting their child, or how to deal with it. It can overwhelm a family, she says. Without financial advice, they may have to get a second mortgage on their home to try and find treatment that will help their child.
Werner-Robinson says Temple Grandin, who’s autistic herself, will speak about what she went through when she was young, before there was a diagnosis for autism and people didn’t understand it. Grandin, who didn’t speak till she was nearly four years old, finally got proper diagnosis and treatment, and became a successful designer of livestock handling equipment. She has designed the facilities in which about half the cattle in the U.S. are handled and serves as a consultant for firms such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Swift.
Events this weekend also include a Sunday dinner and auction at the Omaha Qwest Center and Monday golf tournament at Shadow Ridge, a country club in west Omaha. Last year the dinner and golf tournament raised 675-thousand dollars for autism research.