Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Woman and son run to raise awareness about autism - Summerside Journal Pioneer


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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Woman and son run to raise awareness about autism


When Janet Norman-Bain found out her son was autistic, she felt only happiness.

"I thought great," she said. "(Personally), I thought. . . we're going to lead a more interesting life."

Norman-Bain says autism is not something to be ashamed of nor is it a "life sentencing, horror story, family-wrecking disease."

Unfortunately, she said that is not the view of most people, but Norman-Bain hopes she and her son, Alex Bain, can change that.

Last year, Bain, 18, decided he would be the first autistic person to run the Island tip-to-tip. But he would not be alone. Norman-Bain, who has Aspergers - a mild case of autism - decided to take her bike and join her son on his trek across P.E.I.

Together the two are trying to raise money in order to raise awareness about autism.

Norman-Bain explains their aim is to collect $6,000 so they can pay to have Dennis Debbaudt come to P.E.I. and educate the public on autism.

Debbaudt is a private investigator based out of the United States, who teaches the law enforcers and medical personnel how to interact with people with autism.

Bain and Norman-Bain set out on their journey July 2. They have endured thunderstorms and rain, but they also had some more pleasant company.

They were joined by a man and his son who ran with them from St.Louis to Alma and on July 7 they ran into Summerside accompanied by Scott Clark.

While in Summerside Friday, they collected a $100 donation from deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall on behalf of the city.

From the sidelines Bain's father proudly watched his son.

"I'm doubly proud because she's doing this with him," he said pointing to Norman-Bain.

When asked a question, Bain gave a short answer and with a shy smile and quickly turned away and retreated to a different part of the room. But behind this boyish persona, is a strong athlete with a sharp mind.

Last year, Bain graduated from high school with honours and top marks in math and English.

But Bain can not only talk the talk, he can walk the walk. Bain has been a runner since he was 14. He is a member of the P.E.I. Road Runners and has finished various races with a high standing. But a lot of those traits never have a chance to shine because people can only focus on the disability, Norman-Bain said.


At 4:05 AM, Blogger wonnie said...

Way to go Alex! Your run is very encouraging to all of us. There is so much more information now about autism. 1 : 161 children will be diagnosed each year....I know so many families that are working to help their child be successful. I know that we celebrate our son but realize that knowledge about his disorder is crucial to his acceptance. Thank you Alex for working so hard to help people with autism.


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