A local team from Milford is joining Autism Delaware for the annual Walk for Autism in April which supports people and families affected by Autism. Their seventh year participating in the walk, team Diamond State Dentistry is currently raising money to help the organization as they prepare themselves for the walk which occurs in Cape Henlopean State Park. All money raised will go to help Autism Delaware in their pursuit to provide much needed services and support to Delaware’s autism community.
Started in 1998 by a group of Delaware families who shared the common experience of autism, the organization is dedicated to helping families through advocacy in the Delaware legislature, in the classroom and in Delaware communities. Leader of the Milford walk team, Dr. Lucinda Bunting, states that the group has been a blessing for her son Blaine and their family.
According to Lucinda, twelve-year-old Blaine was born at a time when Autism was not very prevalent in public discourse. With no early signs of the disorder, it was difficult for doctors and families to diagnosed him as a child. Blaine spoke his first words at six and was diagnosed with Autism during his kindergarten year. Blaine is now enrolled at the Sussex Consortium, a public school program serving special needs students from Sussex County, Delaware.
“He has come so far and is now very verbal after years of speech therapy.” commented Lucinda. “Blaine is hilarious, he can come up with a quip immediately and is a very polite and thankful child.”
Autism Delaware has allowed Blaine and his family to enjoy many social activities that many families without any experience with Autism may take for granted. Common social events such as the movies, swimming or even just being in public can be very difficult for some families experiencing a loved one with Autism.
“Autism Delaware has made so many opportunities possible for Blaine and I,” commented Lucinda. “When you have a family member with Autism, social events such as going to the movies can sometimes be difficult. What Autism Delaware will do is make private showings at the theatre available for children with Autism and their families. At events it is so heartwarming, the families are so glad to have the opportunity to do what everyone else is.” Blaine has also been a part of the fall festival event and summer camp that Autism Delaware provides for local families.
Enjoying spending time with his mother, Blaine has become a regular at the dental office as he engages with the staff as they go about their day. Two women in particular, Sherri and Amber Messick, have been a part of Blaine’s life for over seven years, always taking part in the annual Walk for Autism.
“He has been around so long it is a natural part of our day,” commented Dr. Bunting. “The girls fall all over him and will do whatever it is to make him happy. I am so thankful to have them, those girls are very special people to find it in their hearts to support Blaine.”
In support of Blaine, the Bunting, Clark and Messick families will walk with him in the Walk for Autism on Saturday, April 5 at the Cape Henlopen State Park. The three families are currently raising money for the event and are asking individuals to get involved by visiting the fundraising page at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DSD/2014. Dr. Bunting stresses that Autism Delaware is a local organization that provides services and opportunities for people with autism in the local community all year long. She and her staff are excited and looking forward to their seventh year walking alongside Blaine.
“I am a better person for having this child, I do not know how I was deserving enough to have him,” commented Lucinda. “Even after twelve years I am learning so much more about him.”