Autism in the Heartland

Autism in the Heartland
By: Crystal Britt
Larry Childers of Jackson is about as curious, and active as any 7-year-old child comes. Larry's a lot like his friends, but as his mom Sabina would say, he's a little quirky. She says she noticed those quirks even during pregnancy.
She knew something about her child was "different". "About 13, 14 months he got out of control---quit sleeping, 2 to three hours a night was it--he'd scream and cry everywhere. He put his head through a window one time, couldn't wash his clothes, baths were horrible, hair cuts were horrible", said Sabina Childers. Even so, doctors still couldn't pin point the problem. "You hear boys develop different than girls and every child's temperament's different", said Childers. She did her own research, and Autism came up. "Then my only knowledge of Autism was Rain Man, everyone's guilty of that."
Larry was three when he was finally diagnosed with Autism. His parents immediately worked to get him signed up at Judevine Outreach Services in Cape Girardeau. "We travel into the homes to provide individualized services for each family", said Myra Bax-Coordinator.
The center also provides family support groups, music therapy, and social groups. "Since January we have served 218 families with our full time staff and during those three months we've traveled 24, 411 miles", said Bax. They serve 19 counties in Southeast Missouri, in places where Autism rates continue to climb. "Autism is more prevalent than Aids and Cancer combined which makes it especially startling", said Bax. It can be scary, but with treatment, experts say kids like Larry can adapt. His mom says, he's come a long way in the last four years. "He was pretty severe in the beginning, he didn't talk until he was four, now he talks in his sleep", said Childers.
As for Larry's Future, his mom says "it's endless". She says he wants to go to college and either become a vet or a big time inventor for Apple Computers.
Judevine Outreach Services Southeast Missouri Autism Project is located at 909 Broadway Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. (573) 339-9300.
The main office is in St. Louis: (314) 432-6200