Schaghticoke, N.Y. - April 2nd is World Autism Awareness day and one local mom is fighting back, hoping to spread awareness and acceptance.
"We have to help. We have to do something," said Tara Ham.
As Ham sat and played with her three children Tuesday, she was keeping a careful eye on her son Joshua, now 5-years-old. Joshua was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2, but Ham saw symptoms at just six-months-old.
"He never looked in your eyes. He would look over my shoulder. He would look in my mouth,"said Ham.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Autism impacted 1 in 88 children but now that has increased to 1 in 50 children. Ham says she's fighting back against those alarming numbers by spreading awareness.
"I refuse to get into a battle with somebody because you can't change someone mind the only thing I can do is keep advocating for these kids that's all I can do," said Ham.
As Joshua played and recited episodes of his favorite show, had it not been for early treatment including speech therapy Ham says he might not have even progressed as far as he has.
"He didn't talk until he was 3 and a half," said Ham.
Joshua's aggression is the hardest part of his autism for the family. "He'll hit me, he'll punch me, he's almost broken my nose, until he covered in bruises and that's hard," said Ham.
But no matter how hard it is Ham will not stop advocating for her son and others.
"Giving them a safe environment tonight where they can go and they can bring their kids and I have sensory toys and all kinds of stuff there available so that the kids can have a good time," said Ham.
Ham's Autism Awareness Benefit is being held at Hendersons Bar and Grill in Schaghticoke Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. All of the proceeds will go to the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region.
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