Greg Kanevski, of Mansfield, didn’t know what do when his son was first diagnosed with autism. About two years ago, his son was diagnosed with a form of autism called Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS), also known as atypical autism.
Their friends and family offered as much support as they could, but Kanevski said that someone who doesn’t deal with autism on a daily basis cannot understand what it’s like.
“Family members, as much as they love and try to help, they just can’t appreciate it if they’re not living with an austistic child,” he said. “The stress on the [family] relationship, the stress on the family dynamics and of course the stress on the child.”
Kanevski reached out and found the Austism Speaks organization. His first encounter with events run by the organization locally was the Walk for Southern New England at the Colt State Park in Bristol Rhode Island.
“The first year we heard about it we were just overcome with emotion by the sheer number of people that were there,” he said. “That caused us to get involved last year to raise funds.”
Kanevski said that he and his wife raised about $14,000 for the walk last year by matching donations from family and friends. The Kanevskis themselves raised about $6,800 for the event.
“We know there are a lot of people in this town and this community that are faced with the same challenges we are,” he said. “We know there are a lot of people who want to get involved.”
This year, they want to start a team for the walk on a broader scale. He said they want to involve people from Mansfield and surrounding communities like Norton, Sharon, Foxborough and Attleboro.
“For the families, we’ll do the administrative work,” he said.
Kanevski went on to say that for each community for the team there will be a different page on Autism Speaks
Autism itself is a very broad spectrum of different illnesses that affect people in different ways. For more information on how to help and to donate for Kanevski’s team, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.