Local mothers shed light on Autism Awareness Month

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(WVNS) — Since 1972, the month of April has been named Autism Awareness Month. The point of this month is to spread awareness and advocate for acceptance.

Melissa Philopena’s son has Autism.

“Autism Awareness Month for us personally is just getting the word out of all different kinds of children to adolescence to adults that have Autism and acceptance,” Philopena said.

According to Autism Society, Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships and self regulation. Melissa Philopena is the mother of 10 -year-old Tyler, who has Autism. For Tyler, his way of stimulation comes from flapping his arms or watching motors spin, something most of us would feel through a hug.

Lisa Matherly, the Director of Raleigh County Special Olympics, also has a son with Autism.
She got him involved with many actives when he was younger which helped him grow socially. 

“He is limited on speech, but he tries his best to communicate with people, he tries his best to put himself out there, he’s a lot more sociable then some,” Matherly said.

For Matherly and Philopena, getting the word out about Autism Awareness Month is important, but the most important part is acceptance.

“You’re wonderful the way you are and everything that you are doing might look different or might act different, but there is nothing wrong with it we all have our little quirks,” Philopena said.

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