Mansfield moms offer support to parents with autistic children

Group hosts a walk this Saturday to raise awareness

Mansfield, La. - A group of mothers in Mansfield unite after their children are diagnosed with autism. Now they look to help other parents.

One of the mothers started an annual walk to raise awareness and connect others going through the experience. She said it's about shedding light on something that can be sensitive for new parents. 

Rekeisha Fuller said when found out her daughter Kirsten was diagnosed with autism she didn't know who to talk to. Until she met two other moms in Mansfield who went through it. 

"They have been a great source. I know if I have a question about something or there's something I don't understand I know I have those two I can go to," Fuller said. 

Laurie Evans stands as the most seasoned mom with her son Buddy who is now 18.

"I tell everyone he has autism, autism doesn't have him," Evans said. 

Evans said she helps guide others and shows how Buddy graduated and even became Prom King of his class. 

"Some people hide it when they find out about it, but when they find out there's more people who will support them with it they come out of their shell," Evans said. 

Fellow mom and friend, Laquita Wyatt's son Jaylen has autism.

"For a lot of parents when you first get that diagnoses you are in denial," Wyatt said. 

She said having a support group lets them bring some fun into what can be a dark time. 

"We get to talk about the things they like to do which is repetition. It's just funny to sit around and share stories about them, like oh J does that too!" Wyatt said. 

Together they hit the streets, walking to bring the issue of autism to light. 

"To show that people care and even though our kids have autism there's nothing different about them," Wyatt said. 

Fuller started the walk five years ago and said the connections grow each year. The first year there were about 150 participants and last year's walk brought out around 350. 

"So this walk is to let the next mother or father know you are not alone," Fuller said. 

The walk is Saturday at 10:30 a.m. outside Mansfield City Hall.

It's only a mile-long and they encourage anyone interested to attend. 


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