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NEWS STORIES

Raising Awareness of Autism, Resources in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/04/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


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.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - This was the sixth year that the event was held at various places in Marathon County. Volunteers were picking up trash to better their communities at 35 locations. Many local groups were involved.

"Faith Christian Academy and Hope Life Center, and there's other businesses and groups within the city of Wausau," said volunteer Dave Arends.

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LAKE MILLS - A Lake Mills facility will start production again after they euthanize 800,000 chickens. That comes after a highly contagious bird flu spreads in the Midwest.

The Daybreak Foods facility tested the flock every day for the virus after a facility in Jefferson County tested positive ten days ago.

Every test for the Lake Mills facility was negative until they found dead birds this week. The virus also spread to other facilities in Minnesota and Iowa.

Bird flu is believed to spread by waste from birds flying over commercial poultry facilities.

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WAUSHARA COUNTY - A dump truck hit a restaurant in central Wisconsin Friday night. Six people were hurt from the crash.

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the 62-year-old driver was heading west on State Highway 21 in Waushara County around 7pm. He then hit a car from behind, kept moving, and hit Elmer's Place before stopping.

The driver and five people in the pizza restaurant were hurt. The driver from the Wisconsin Dells was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

The crash is still under investigation.

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MERRILL - The historical society has been working on planning the event since last October.

A transportation theme was chosen for 2015.

"[We're] on our history hunt, and we are learning about where the railroads went around Merrill, how the river was important, where the trolley went, where the old highways go, and all of those thing are included in our packet of navigation," said Merrill Historical Society's Jane Francoeur.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Some veterans might be eligible for various benefits, but not all veterans know which ones they can get.

That's why there was a Veterans Benefit Forum held Saturday afternoon in Lake Tomahawk.

Oneida County's Veteran Service Officer Tammy Walters spoke at the forum and answered questions.

"I like, when I have the opportunity to get out there and tell them about benefits because there are a lot of benefits out there and people don't always qualify for them," says Walters. "There's going to be someone that's going to leave here today and they're going to be eligible for a benefit they had no idea they were eligible for."

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LAND O' LAKES - The Phelps community came together Saturday to turn tragedy into something positive.

"Mrs. Johnson was always one of our favorite teachers, you could go to her about anything like troubles at home or bullying, and she'd always be there for us so it's really nice to give back to her," said Phelps 8th grader Alexandria Myszka.

Kim Johnson works as the music teacher at Phelps Middle School. After her husband D.J. was hurt in an accident last month, he's now paralyzed from the waist down.

But the community decided to help the family.

"Originally, this was our 8th grade class fundraiser, but after we heard about Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, we decided to donate all of the proceeds to them," said Myszka.

The Phelps 8th graders hosted a breakfast fundraiser at The Sunrise Lodge in Land O' Lakes. More than 300 people came out in support.

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WAUSAU - One of the groups that went to the Business Expo was E3YP.

The group originated from the growing need to get young people to stay in area.

Young people often start working in smaller northcentral Wisconsin communities, but they end up leaving after a few years. It's something that E3YP hopes to change.

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