Living With Autism: A Local Family's Story

April 29, 2012 Updated Apr 29, 2012 at 10:35 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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April 29, 2012 Updated Apr 29, 2012 at 10:35 PM EDT

It's Autism Awareness Month, and word is getting out about this disorder. New figures show it's affecting more and more children, but do you know what it's really like to live with it?

Joanna Pasceri shared the story of a special Orchard Park family.

Caring for two autistic children is a 24/7 job for the Swanson family. The disorder makes it difficult to communicate and discipline their boys. Even feeding five year old Ryan and three year old Dylan is a chore.
The boys are on a restrictive diet. They can't have sugar, wheat products, dyes or starches.

They also can't take their eyes off their children for a minute. It's something they learned the hard way last summer when severely autistic Ryan wandered over to an open window on a hot day and fell two stories below. Ryan spent six days in the hospital with a concussion and a fractured skull.

Jamie and Daryl say parents of autistic children need lots of support, but as tough as it is on these mom and dads, Jamie can't imagine how her boys must feel dealing with the disorder.

She calls them her heroes for coping with their everyday struggles, and with cases of autism on the rise, she hopes others will learn to feel the same.

If you'd like to help Ryan and Dylan get the best treatment possible for this disorder, the family is holding a Step'n Up 4 Swanson's Fundraiser, Sunday, May 20th at the Seneca Hose Fire Hall in West Seneca from 2pm-7pm. All the money raised at the event will be used to send the boys to a world-renowned Brain Camp in Idaho. For more information, click on News Links.