Fundraiser supplements expensive therapy

Pizza Inn fundraiser to pay for noncovered therapy
Apr. 04, 2013 @ 04:21 PM

Fundraiser supplements expensive therapy
By Daniel Kennedy

"If you see improvement in your child...you will do anything you can to continue his progress," Kelly Brown said of her sister, Tara Turner.
On Monday night, Thomasville and surrounding communities will have the opportunity to help Turner, a mother of two, to ensure that her son may continue his educational development. Joseph Turner is an 11-year old boy who battles autism. He attends a therapy program 30 hours each week, which is an incredibly advantageous albeit expensive venture.
To support Joseph’s therapy, the family will hold a fundraiser at Pizza Inn on W. Fairfield Road in south High Point.
"The therapy itself is not expensive, but the amount he needs can get very expensive," Turner said. "From where he was years ago, he is doing remarkable, so I'm trying to keep him in his therapy."
According to Turner, 10 percent of Pizza Inn's sales from 5 to 9 p.m. will go directly toward funding Joseph's therapy, which is not covered by insurance. The therapy consists of one-on-one visits to Jane Leonard Educational Facility, LLC, in High Point.
His marked improvement is not only observed by his immediate family, but also by others who have been thrilled to watch his progress with other children, an objective of the treatment.
"The goal of this program is to have consistent and effective interventions to help the child meet his or her life goals," said Jane Leonard, his therapist. "Joseph has met tremendous goals from [previously] being nonverbal, uncooperative, and reluctant to participating in a class setting. He now reads 40 words in print, uses two-to-three word sentences most of the time and sits to complete work tasks."
According to Leonard, the program enhances age-appropriate relationships with peers and increases his ability to apply understandings and skills in everyday life situations.
This type of progression has made a remarkable impact in familial relationships. Brown's 3-year old daughter, Abby, enjoys playing with her cousin, who finally reached the point where he can now show affection. When asked if she believed his therapy was significant in his improvement, his aunt responded affirmatively without hesitating.
"He's been there for a little while and since, he has improved so much. There are just so many things he can do now that he couldn't do before," Brown said. "My daughter and Joseph have become the best of friends. One day, she was upset and started crying. He stopped what he was doing and went over to give her a hug. That was the first time he's ever shown empathy for anyone."
Brown said some statistics reveal the diagnosis of autism in children to be more frequent than diagnosed cases of juvenile diabetes, AIDS and cancer combined. She hopes through Joseph's exposure, others will begin to understand how the condition pervades society.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. April is Autism Awareness Month nationwide. To assist with the fundraiser, visit the Pizza Inn location at 110 W. Fairfield Road in High Point.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.