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To look at my son Austin, you wouldn’t think he is any different than other 14 year old kids. Spend time with him in a school setting and you will see he is going to have a lifetime of struggles ahead of him …he has Autism. Along with this major disability he also has fine motor skill issues packaged with high anxiety levels. We all know school is tough enough when you are a teenager – I can’t imagine what it must be like for him on a daily basis. He is continually picked on, teased and ridiculed while at school. Everyone has heard the saying “kids are cruel” and after witnessing what Austin has to go through everyday, truer words have never been spoken. To help Austin try and “fit in” we attempted various sports and activities, anything he would be good at or at least enjoy. Everything failed miserably. Then one day we received a flyer in the mail for an ‘arrive and drive’ go-kart program from Goodwood Kartways which was 20 minutes from our house. It took several weeks of convincing but Austin finally decided to try it. Then aged 7, my son sat in a go-kart for the very first time and for the very first time in his life I saw he was genuinely happy. When he left the grid for the first time I remember hoping that this would work and we would find something he enjoyed. It didn’t matter to me if he was good at it I just wanted to be able to give the kid something he hadn’t had in his short life….acceptance. He finished eighth that day but retained a smile for days afterward. Incredibly that was the only time he would miss the podium all year. He finished the season third overall against kids that were four years older than him on average. Since then he has gone on to win 3 championships and is has become one of the best racers in Canada. As Austin says...Just because you have Autism it doesn't mean you can't do great things.

Jason Riley
Uxbridge, ON, Canada

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The Autism Site was founded to provide therapy to help children affected by autism spectrum disorders and their families. With a simple, daily click of the blue "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Autism Site, visitors help provide therapy for children in need. Visitors pay nothing. Therapy is paid for by the site's sponsors and distributed by charity partners of The Autism Site. Visitors can help more by shopping in The Autism Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers fund research into autism and even more therapy for children living with autism and their families. The store offers a wide array of items to show your support, as well as fair-traded and handcrafted items from around the world.

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