By Wendy Hayworth
For three years Jim Wining has been hosting a weekly Autism Outreach Hour on the Acts Ministry Radio. The purpose of the radio program is to keep people informed with the latest news in autism in all 50 states. In addition, listeners are encouraged to call or write in with any questions they might have. This way, solutions may be worked out.
Last year, Jim Sharp of Leeís Summit, was invited onto the radio show to discuss his unique approach to autism.
"I finally came to grips with things and decided Iím going to start figuring stuff out," Sharp said.
Wining calls Sharpís method the Ďredneck wayí of handling autism.
"The doctors have told me to do one thing and do you know what, it didnít work. Iím doing it my way," Sharp said. "Basically Iím just doing this by the seat of my pants."
One example of Sharpís redneck way of handling autism is how he views IEP meetings.
"When you talk about your special needs kid and their wants and needs and youíre trying to drive that information across and trying to relate it to someone your emotions come out and you canít help it," Sharp said.
This approach was not working, as problems were not being solved.
"I realized that, for me to do this, I had to take that emotion out. The only way I could do it, as the redneck I was, I had to put it in my mind that Iím the owner of the team and my son is the star quarterback," Sharp said.
Sharp would then give everyone a position on the team including, teachers, the principal, and even the bus driver. In fact, Sharp requested that the bus driver attend the IEP meetings.
"We call it Team Dalton and we come out of the meetings high fiving each other and with a set goal to win," Sharp said.
While the radio program lasts only an hour, Wining and Sharp found themselves talking for hours. They had many similar experiences including raising an autistic child and the lessons learned from doing so.
"Itís made me grow. Itís not that Daltonís the one growing out of autism. Iím growing out of autism," Sharp said.
Through their discussions Wining and Sharp began to discuss the idea of creating a television show dedicated to helping parents of autistic children: Growing Out of Autism.
"I could show it to you on video and get these points across," Sharp said. "What weíre wanting to do is to find answers to the very common questions. These are things that will empower you as a parent not to give up."
ĎGrowing Out of Autismí is set to begin filming after the 15 of January and will be filmed in Kansas City. The shows will be available through Acts Media online at http://www.actsmediagroup.com.
"Weíre waiting for some financial support to start filming," Wining said.
If you would like to make a donation to help fund this project contact Jim Wining at 816 217 3307.
The radio station can be listened to live at http://www.actsmediagroup.com. Autism Outreach Hour is every Monday at 8 a.m.