MEDFORD - In April millions of Americans recognize Autism Awareness month.
In the Northwoods one family is speaking out for their son Jack, and how their school district is making a difference.
“You know I don’t know what I’d do if he didn’t have the structure of school,” said Cathy Mayrer.
Mayrer’s son Jack has been in the Medford Schools since age three.
“Jack was diagnosed at 3 years, 5 months old with autism,” said Mayrer.
Before his autism diagnosis, Mayrer says things were difficult.
“Very isolated. Because your friends are all, well, we couldn’t go anywhere. Not with him, because he’d throw his meltdowns, have his tantrums and I didn’t know what was wrong with him,” said Mayrer.
Jack’s autism is “moderately severe” on the autism spectrum.
But things are a lot different now than when Jack was first diagnosed, and part of that is from the help of the Medford Area School District.
“The school itself has just been, this part of his life that I can’t even describe, I haven’t moved anywhere else because of it. Because they’ve done the best that I can see locally for my son,” said Mayrer.
At Medford Area Middle School, teacher Ryan Brown has been working with Jack for three years.
“Every day is different. You know one day it might be great, but then all of the sudden something is bothering them, or upsetting them. And so each and every day is different, but we just kinda adjust to them,” said Brown. The great days are what Cathy says makes a difference.
“When you see him make little gains in things, it’s such a rewarding thing to watch him, and see him make these gains that you never thought he could do.”
“I just, I mean personally, I feel really blessed to be able to have these guys. Because Jack and the other students, they’re so much fun to be around. I’ve probably learned more from them, than they’ve learned from me,” said Brown.
Autism is an individual experience, but Cathy hopes theirs can help other families.
“As long as I keep speaking for Jack, and trying to do the best thing for him on his behalf, it might not always be the right thing or the most finesse, but I’m trying to do the best I can for Jack, and that’s what I aim to do”
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center today.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.
Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.
Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.
Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.
Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.
A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.
Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.
Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.
Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.
The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.
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