Pictured, left to right, Jim Brogna, Allied Services; Atty. Bill Anzalone, Anzalone Law; Joan Godlewski; Bill Godlewski; LynnMarie Shedlock; Sean Shedlock; Tom McGrath, McGrath Medical Supplies; Leslie Fath, Allied Services; Dr. Michael Raymond; Tina McCarthy, Allied Services; Alex Rogers, Bedwick & Jones Printing.

Staff, supporters and community members gathered recently at Heinz Rehab Hospital in Wilkes-Barre to celebrate Autism Awareness Month. The annual celebration calls for action, acceptance, inclusion, appreciation and awareness of a disorder which affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that affects the way a person experiences and interacts with the world. ASD affects individuals in many different ways and can range from mild to severe. High quality early intervention does more than develop skills.  It can also change underlying brain development and activity, reducing service needs in future.

The guests gathered for the luncheon had the opportunity to meet and hear from a family served by Heinz Rehab Hospital. Sean Shedlock received his autism diagnoses as a toddler, after his mother, LynnMarie, noticed that he was struggling with communication. He was non-verbal and actually learned to spell before he picked up speech. Sean was referred to Heinz Rehab Hospital in Wilkes-Barre and started receiving services when he was just 2 years old. Thanks to his speech therapists and the opportunities provided by pragmatic socialization groups, Sean was soon thriving.

He is now in the 6th grade at Bear Creek Community Charter School where he is a solid A and B student, much to his mom, LynnMarie’s, delight. Sean is an excellent artist and loves architecture. He hopes to visit the Eiffel Tower in the near future. He plays soccer with the Wyoming Valley Top Soccer organization and is an avid player of Mine Craft.

The pediatric programs at Heinz Rehab provide a wide range of therapeutic services to children with ASD including speech, occupational and physical therapy, feeding classes, pragmatic socialization groups. Shortfall in funding for these services is met thanks to funds raised through the annual Lexus Autism Golf Classic. The 24th Annual Lexus Autism Golf Classic is scheduled for Monday, June 19 at Huntsville Golf Club. For information call 570-348-1407 or  click here