YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday is World Autism Awareness Day. Blue is a big color to represent people with autism and those who love and support them.
A local family talks about how facilities like Potential Development have helped their son live life to the fullest.
“He’s my boy. I mean, he’s the love of my life,” said Joseph Martin.
Payton Martin started at Potential Development in 2013 as a preschooler. His parents Jessica and Joseph Martin say Payton couldn’t talk as a child. But now as a sixth grader, he talks, laughs, writes and dances.
“They helped him be able to do daily tasks and without this school, we wouldn’t have even gotten to where we are now,” Jessica said.
Every child’s autistic behavior is different. They learn differently, they react differently and they have difficulty with social interactions.
As for Payton, the elementary school really helped structure his day and helped him overcome some of those obstacles.
“There’s a room where he has a swing. There’s different colors, the lights are dim for him if he is having problems. They offer hearing protection if the noises are too loud,” Joseph said.
Payton’s parents say places like Potential Development are so important for children with special needs because they give parents a shoulder to lean on, knowing someone is there to help them through the uncertainty.
“Families, especially when they first find out their child has autism, they are lost. They are not sure what to do, where to go. It’s great for Potential Development to be able to step in and support them, let them know that there is a future for their child and we’re here to help them,” said Potential Development CEO Paul Garchar.
You can show your support by wearing blue or turning on a blue light for the month of April!