RHINELANDER - In April we recognize World Autism Awareness Month. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says 1 in every 50 children is affected. This disorder presents a unique challenge for each family. For those of us North of highway 64-- it can be more of a struggle.
"It's a long way to go to find another parent to come into the school district, to find a support group. So I think you'll find a scarcity of services up here," said Robin Mathea, Director of Parent-to-Parent of Wisconsin.
Families with children on the moderate to severe side of the Autism Spectrum usually need help. Autism can be exhausting for caregivers, but that's only part of what they have to deal with.
"Often times people don't understand unless they've walked in your shoes, and that's a really hard stigma to get past for families. Your child's misbehaving in the grocery store, and somebody next to you has a child that's just so appropriate and they're looking and thinking, whoa, you're a bad parent because you haven't been able to get your child to behave, but yet you may be having a really successful time in the grocery store because you've at least gotten this far with them," said Mathea.
People on the Autism Spectrum are all unique. This can make it very difficult to find appropriate child care. Mathea says she often hears parents say they had to quit their jobs because there was no one else to take care of their child.
A huge spike in the number of children with autism has some calling this an epidemic. But there are also questions of whether more children DO have the disorder, or are just being diagnosed. Mathea says an early diagnosis can make a huge difference.
"I think we're so much savvier at diagnosing. And with early intervention we get our best outcomes, so why not?"
Below are links to groups that can help parents and kids with autism and other emotional and behavioral disorders.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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