Teenagers use unique perspective to raise awareness for Autism

They are teenagers out to raise Autism awareness. It is a mission that started for two different families after their younger twin siblings were diagnosed.

Their perspective is unique and shaped their passion to not only help kids like their brothers and sisters at home, but across the world.

"These kids need help," said 17 year old Maci Daniel.

Daniel, along with 16 year old Parker Outman are part of Autism Advocates for Africa.

"Although we are raising money for the kids in Africa, we are raising awareness here," said Outman.

The cause has special meaning for them because both teens say Autism changed their lives – and they feel it was all for the better.

"I think Autism is a blessing, a gift," said Daniel.

Both teens younger twin siblings were diagnosed with Autism at a young age.

Daniel's sisters Audrey and Anna are now ten years old. They were diagnosed at age two.

"They teach me more than I learn anywhere else," said Daniel. "They are a joy."

The Outmans adopted Phisher and Phelix from Ethiopia.

"When we went as a family to get them it changed the way I look at everything," said Outman. "They probably wouldn't have been treated well or have been abused if they had grown up there.  It's so much different here."

Both teens are active in various types of African mission work.  Outman and Daniel say they came to realize while their brothers and sisters get extensive therapy here, little help is available in Africa. In fact, the Outman family learned many children with Autism are killed. Both Daniel and Outman felt they had to do something to make a difference.

"I don't even want to think about where my sisters would be if they had been born there," said Daniel. "It was in my head, in my heart to do something and it was not leaving."

"The kind of care you get shouldn't be based on where you're born," said Outman.

So, they started working on a big project to take a team of therapists and materials to the Jacaranda school in Nairobi, Kenya.

"We want to teach the therapist there how to better treat Autism and how to understand it and give them the resources to help them for years to come," said Outman.

Among their fundraisers, they are selling shirts as well as bracelets and other jewelry made by Jacaranda students.

"We're also having garage sales and we just had a Zumbathon," said Outman.

Their dream is to help people here at home understand Autism, give their siblings the best chance possible to live up to their full potential and give kids just like them across the world the same opportunities.

"I  definitely think that God put them in my life for a reason," said Daniel. "It's taught me how to live with a whole different perspective."

"The dream for my brothers is to make sure that they have the best life and the fullest life that they can," said Outman. "We want to help other kids in Africa have the same opportunities."

Outman and the team are off to Kenya in June.

Meanwhile,  April 2 marks the 6th Annual World Autism Awareness Day.

A new study by the centers for disease control says up to 1 in 50 American children has some form of autism.

To learn more about Autism Advocates for Africa:


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