At the Flutie Foundation’s recent Night to Shine Gala, we introduced our newest initiative “Autism on the Go”, which addresses the importance of an active lifestyle by funding recreation, sports and music programs for families affected by autism. This initiative honors my in-laws, Joan and Dick Flutie, who were passionate about creating opportunities and fostering active lifestyles for Doug Sr. and his three siblings. Research shows that people with autism have a seven percent higher rate of obesity than the general population. We are passionate about changing this.
As Mother’s Day approaches, we thought there was no better time to recognize some of the incredible mothers in our community committed to keeping their kids active. Each of these women have been awarded $500 to support their efforts to make recreation a priority for their children:
Victoria Kam, Belmont, MA
Children Alexander (15) and Erica (12) plan to continue their canoeing lessons at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown and in the fall they will use the funding to attend swimming lessons with Belmont S.P.O.R.T.S. As Victoria explains, “Autism is always going to be part of their lives, they need to know they can do a lot of things any other children can do. It is very important for me as their parent to give them opportunities to try new things. Most children will try out an activity to see what he/she will enjoy and is good at, I want this for my children too.”
Patti Moore, Chelmsford, MA
Sons Liam (22) and Aidan (14) will use the funding for therapeutic horseback riding lessons. As Patti explains, “It is an activity they both love and one that helps lessen their anxiety, develops their confidence and helps tremendously with their sleep habits. I have always wished for them to ride again and now they can thanks to this “Autism on the Go” funding.”
Susan Parziale, Lynnfield, MA
Daughter Jenna (12), with the help of her mother Susan, has embraced running. “Scholarship money will be used to purchase clothing and equipment so she can comfortably continue to rack up those miles. A pursuit that not only makes her feel more happy and focused, but has helped to decrease self-stimulatory behavior.” says Susan.
Lori Reisinger, Fairfield, CT
Lori, a single mother who is literally “on the go” all day with her job as a school bus driver will be using the funds to continue Taekwondo lessons for her son Brendon (8). Lori says “Brendon is 8, almost 9, and has been in Taekwondo for a year. Wow, what a difference! Before Brendon would just run away, no eye contact, wouldn’t listen to instructions, no social skills whatsoever and he didn’t want to do much as far as physical activity was concerned. Now he is so excited to go to class, very proud to win awards at all his next level belt tests and he has fun! He follows instructions, memorizes his moves, and interacts with the instructors and other students. He now has so much confidence in everything he does and it follows him everywhere. Home, school, playground, restaurants, out with family and we are so happy we chose Taekwondo because we know he will stay in it for the rest of his life.”
As a mother of an autistic child myself, I recognize how difficult it is to add more activities to an already busy schedule. My hat goes off to them for valuing and committing to keeping their children moving. Wishing Victoria, Patti, Susan and Lori as well as all the other wonderful women out there we call ‘Mom’ a very Happy Mother’s Day!
All my best,