Mom encourages community to learn more about autism

Mom asks community to use what happened in the Dells as an opportunity to learn more about the autism spectrum

Earlier this week,  a video of a family who had a disagreement with a Wisconsin Dells restaurant over bringing outside food for their son who has autism went viral. A woman from our area said she can relate to that family, as a mother of a son who also has the disorder.

When 11-year-old Anthony Miller was diagnosed with Autism mom Latasha Miller immediately went into research mode.

“I read up on it, everything I possibly could to understand my child,” Miller said.

Four years later she’s learned a lot, but there are still challenges.

“Last night he had an emotional breakdown that lasted two hours, throwing stuff, hitting stuff. These are things I can’t understand and I have to walk away from for the time being,” Miller said.

Anthony’s sister said her brother’s disability makes him shy, confusing kids who don’t know as much about autism as she does.

“He’s not going to answer them, so I just tell them to stop, but they don’t stop,” said Reanna Miller.

“It you know one child with autism you know one child with autism,” said Chris Jones, with the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation.

And because of that, Jones said countless things can trigger behavioral issues.

“The buzzing of the fluorescent lights, it can be a whole bunch of pictures in a classroom on the walls, it can be children making a bunch of noise, it can be something that we don’t even hear that they are so much more in tune to,” she said.

“There are a lot of rages with autistic children because they can’t explain their feelings,” Miller said.

Miller said the only way more people can start to understand Anthony and others with autism is through education.

“Booklets or pamphlets that they use in school; they can take a quarter of their health class and learn about it,” Miller said.

Because like any mom, Miller just wants her son to be happy.

“I would love for my son to be able to walk down the street and be able to say ‘hi’ and ‘how are you’ and be OK with everything that is wrong with him,” Miller said.

If you’d like to learn more, you can go to the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation’s website at www.Laxautism.org

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