WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published April 30, 2012, 07:53 PM

ND Community Comes Together to Help Girl Overcoming Autism

CAVALIER, ND (WDAZ-TV) - There's no known cause or cure for autism and a diagnosis can mean a lifetime of hardship. But one North Dakota family is well on their way to overcoming autism with help from their community. Now they want to help others.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

CAVALIER, ND (WDAZ-TV) - There's no known cause or cure for autism and a diagnosis can mean a lifetime of hardship. But one North Dakota family is well on their way to overcoming autism with help from their community. Now they want to help others.

Maddy Robinson was diagnosed with autism nearly two years ago, but you wouldn't know that if you met her today.

Maddy's mother Janna noticed something was different with her daughter when she was 20 months old.

"She did not answer to her name. She did not like to look at anybody in the eye," Janna Robinson said.

She was diagnosed with moderately severe autism in July 2010. The only treatment plan available was called Applied Behavioral Analysis.

"There aren't any places in North Dakota that will take children under the age of three to do Applied Behavioral Analysis," Robinson said.

The only option the Robinson family had was to turn to friends and neighbors in the Cavalier community.

"Once Maddy had a need, we all kind of stepped up and helped them out," Melissa Ganger said.

Eight volunteers learned the treatment program and worked with Maddy for up to 40 hours a week. The results exceeded all expectations.

After seven months of intensive therapy, Maddy's autism is now in remission. She attends pre-school and is at the same developmental level as other children her age. Plus she's one of the most adorable little girls you'll ever meet.

The puzzle piece is the symbol for autism awareness. Maddy's supporters spent Saturday building puzzles to raise money and awareness for others with the disorder.

"I think it just shows that we care about each other. That when one of us has something going on in life that somebody else is going to help them out," Laurel Crosby said.

Thanks to those same dedicated volunteers, Janna says Maddy's puzzle fits together better than ever.

"I think in some spaces she's complete but she's got some spaces yet to fill, but I think we're all kind of like that too," Robinson said.

Janna Robinson says she's turning the volunteer group "Maddy's Voice" into a non-profit.

This weekend's event will help Chris Kincaid, a Cavalier high school student with Asperger's.

Tags: