WAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - A Waynesboro mother works to break the stigma surrounding children with autism by hosting an event at the Waynesboro City Auditorium to bridge the gap between children with autism and those without.
Melody Jones started the "Autism Sensory Day" event through her organization For Ry's Sake: Autism in Action.
"We want to give students that may not be aware of autism the opportunity to interact with autistic children so they'll know some of their mannerisms," Jones said. "They'll be able to understand them a little bit better and then they can maybe in turn be able to help others who may not understand.
Jones says the organization is named after her son Rylan.
"He's 9," Jones said. "He was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old. Since then, I've been kind of a warrior mom. I do the things that would best fit his life as well as educate others around him.
Jones says she works year round to keep autism awareness in action by hosting events such as the Sensory Day event to show the community how children with autism can be active members of society.
"A lot of people think that children with autism want to be by themselves," Jones said. "That's not necessarily the case. A lot of kids with autism just don't know how to be social."
Several parents of autistic children attended the event including Shelia Miller. Miller says she's been working with Jones for a while and says she grateful for the relationships she's built with other mothers of autistic children.
"You know, in the middle of the night when you're having a breakdown because [your child] didn't like the peas that they liked two hours ago, it's always good to have that sisterhood that you can call and connect with," Miller said.
However, parents say the most important relationship is the ones being built among the children. Miller's 15-year-old son, who is autistic, says he wants people to "keep learning about all of us."
For more information on Rylan and the organization For Ry's Sake: Autism in Action, visit http://www.forryssake.org/.