FEAT hopes for center for autistic children | RecordCourier.com

FEAT hopes for center for autistic children

When Wendi and Garritt Fauria’s son Dave was 13 months old, Wendi had suspected something was wrong for quite some time. He never had pointed at anything like 1-year-olds normally do and didn’t respond when they called his name. He had stopped smiling and babbling. The last word he had spoken was “Mama” on Mother’s Day at 11 months old. “He was kind of like taken from us,” said Wendi Fauria, 36, of Dave, who is now 4 years old. “His spirit – it was gone.” She took him to a doctor and was told that he was fine, then she got a second opinion. Following that examination, Dave was diagnosed with autism. “My son just now is starting to say a few words,” said Fauria. “Ten percent of those with autism never speak.” One in 166 children are diagnosed with autism, according to the Autism Society of America, which states that according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, ASA estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade. Autism is defined as a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. After her son, her only child, was diagnosed, Fauria, who lives in Gardnerville, tried to locate a support group in Carson Valley. She couldn’t find one so she decided to create her own Valley chapter of Families for Effective Autism Treatment. “We started FEAT in October 2003 when my son was diagnosed,” said Fauria. The first meeting was held in June 2004. Just two months later following a suggestion by her father, David Semas, FEAT held its first Autism Benefit for Children, a charity dinner concert at Semas’ ranch in the Foothills. That event raised $40,000, with $25,000 in proceeds going to FEAT. In 2005, FEAT once again held a dinner concert, this time raising $60,000, with net earnings of $39,000. This year, with the help of Mario and Diane Antoci who donated use of Genoa Lakes Golf Course, FEAT hosted two events on Aug. 4-5. Called the ABC Weekend, the Buffalo Creek Invitational golf tournament raised $55,000, with a net profit of almost $35,000 and the Evening at the Comstock featuring David John and the Comstock Cowboys, with about 400 people in attendance, raised $75,000, with almost $55,000 going to FEAT. In total, the weekend raised $130,000, with more than $85,000 going to families with autistic children in Northern Nevada and to a fund to build an autism center. “It’s just amazing in all of Northern Nevada, the generosity of people,” said Fauria. “It really touches my heart. We really live in a great community.” Three couples who have autistic children originally formed FEAT, but two had to leave the board or their children wouldn’t qualify for benefits. Toni and Allen Gumm and Phil and Barbie Stein still act as advisors. Wendi Fauria’s brother Greg Semas has joined the board as president and Fauria is the treasurer. One of FEAT’s goals is awareness, since early detection can make a huge difference in getting results from therapy in an autistic child. “I want to create awareness,” said Fauria. “The longer parents wait, the more difficult for the child.” Fauria said there are “countless therapies,” plus special diets and vitamin supplements. “The two main modes of therapy are ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), which is intensive one-on-one therapy, or there is Floor Time, which is playtime therapy,” said Fauria. “Those two therapies are very beneficial,” she said. FEAT’s biggest goal is to build a center for autistic children in Northern Nevada. “Our goal is to build a center for kids,” said Fauria’s father, Semas, “so people who have an autistic child – they’d be able to bring them someplace where they can get free therapy.” Semas is one of the biggest benefactors of FEAT. “This is about kids, this is about our future,” said Semas. “If we can just help them now through therapy, you’d be shocked at what they can become. “It is our version of No Child Left Behind. Whatever stage that child is in, the more therapy they get, the better they’ll grow up to be.” A center for autistic children in Northern Nevada would give them the venue to be able to offer full-time therapists, according to Semas. “In Northern Nevada there are 300-plus families out there with autistic children,” said Semas. “There are over 1,200 in the state of Nevada. We must find out why this is happening – to get a cause and find out how to cure it. But there are millions of kids who have it and we must help them be all they can be.” ON THE WEB Families for Effective Autism Treatment, Carson Valley http://www.featofthecarsonvalley.org Autism Research Institute http://www.autismwebsite.com Autism Society of America http://www.autism-society.org Children and adults with autism: n May not understand what you say n Appear deaf n Be unable to speak or speak with difficulty n Engage in repetitive behaviors n Act upset for no apparent reason n Appear insensitive to pain n Appear anxious or nervous n Dart away from you unexpectedly n Engage in self-stimulating behaviors like hand flapping or rocking Source: Autism Society of America

Girls’ Golf: Wurster wins third league tournament

STATELINE – Even though Bethany Wurster represents Douglas High School and Alexis Holmes plays for South Tahoe High, they are more like golf teammates. As good “teammates” do, Wurster and Holmes root for one aonother and inspire each other. For two of the top golfers in the Sierra Division, and the state for that matter, a friendship has formed out of competition. “It will fuel you to strive for something better. You just want to beat them. You love them, but you want to beat them at the same time,” Wurster said Tuesday afternoon following a 3-over-par round of 75 that topped the Sierra Division event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, I hope you do well, but I hope I do better.’” Wurster, who birdied six holes, finished seven strokes ahead of Holmes, who came in third with an 82. The last of Wurster’s birdies on No. 18 cost Holmes a dinner. “Once I get my scoring figured out, it’s going to be fun,” said Holmes, who believes mismanagement of her game at times prevents her from scoring in the 70s. “I’m driving the ball really well, but I’m just hitting bad irons. I overcompenstate sometimes when I shouldn’t, so I’m 20 yards long, and it’s very difficult to two-putt from there. “Hopefully by zone I’ll get it figured out.” The two friends played Edgewood Tahoe on Sunday in preparation for Tuesday’s round, and Wurster beat Holmes 74-76 by eagling the final hole. Bishop Manogue’s Mackenzie Souers broke up the 1-2 Wurster-Holmes finish by shooting an 80. Alex Phillips, the defending state champion and also playing in the group with Wurster and Holmes, came in fifth with an 85. “It’s the first time all three have played together,” said STHS coach Marsha Butler. “Bethany and Alexis have developed a really good friendship, but they are always real competitive with each other.” Manogue, the defending state champions, were far superior than their division foes on Tuesday, as four Miners scored 90 or better en route to a 339 team total. Damonte Ranch was second with 419 strokes and Galena and Carson tied for third at 422. South Tahoe, which placed third in the previous tournament, finished sixth at 458. The Vikings’ Morgan Murphy shot 109 and Brittany Rumble fired a 118. Team scores 1. Manogue 439, 2. Damonte Ranch 419, 3. Galena 422, 3. Carson 422, 5. Fallon 453, 6. South Tahoe 458, 7. Douglas 467, 8. Wooster 526. Individual scores Manogue: Alex Phillips 85, Maggie Jones 84, Mackenzie Souers 80, Elise Levy 90, Megan Anderson 136, Lexi Robertson 114. Damonte Ranch: Shayla Miller 104, Ashleigh Westover 96, Rachael Schryer 101, Morgan Pisane 118. Galena: Hayley Jensen 100, Skylar Antencio 105, Sydney Atencio 113, Gabi Lucas 109, Rachael Zunino 107, Amanda Parmer 110. Carson: Megan Justice 113, Whitney Nash 102, Elayna Shine 105, Katie Cowperthwaite 110, Lindsay Burroughs 105, Katie Livermore 110. Fallon: Megan Hill 109, Brittyn Tidwell 103, Sarah Frandsen 123, Sara Parsons 118, Ashley Bowers 128, Katie Moore 131. South Tahoe: Alexis Holmes 82, Morgan Murphy 92, Brittany Rumble 118. Douglas: Bethany Wurster 75, Kelsey Endter 118, Megan Welch 151, Bri Burnside 138, Emily Downer 136, Kristen Greenhut 153. Wooster: Alana Crosby 123, Zoie Oberg 116, Karlee Day 130, Samantha Burrows 157.

Fund-raiser will help treat autistic children

Staff Writer For its first fund-raiser, a group of Douglas County parents hope to raise $50,000 to help treat children with autism and to eventually build a treatment center. “We’ve probably sold about 200 tickets and that was before the fliers were up,” said Wendi Fauria, a member of Families for Effective Autism Treatment. “Now the fliers are up, we’re starting to sell more. I hope we sell all of them.” A $25 ticket purchases an evening of jazz, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Aug. 14 at Buffalo Creek off of Jones Lane near Foothill Road. The ticket also will be a chance at a grand prize, which has not yet been established. “We’re looking for a grand prize, though … something big,” said Toni Gumm, a parent in the group. “Maybe we’re being naive, but maybe a car or something. The grand prize will be the best donation we get.” Autism is a developmental disability, typically obvious in children by the age of three, that can show itself through lack of language, physical skills and eye contact, according to the Autism Society of America. There are many degrees of autism. Money raised will help treat eight children on the group’s list. Six children are from Douglas County, one boy is from Carson City and one is from Dayton. The treatment they need is not covered by health insurance or Medicaid – specifically, a learning process called applied behavior analysis. “Therapy is really expensive,” Gumm said. “Kids who are diagnosed with autism need early intensive intervention. It’s a must. Our goal is to help the families pay for the costs of the therapy.” The process takes something as simple as the task of pointing and teaches the child the steps, a process that could take up to 30 hours. “You might start off with physical prompts like taking the finger and making the physical gesture and working until they can master it completely,” Gumm said. The support group formed in May under Fauria’s guidance after she and other parents became concerned about what they see as an increasing rise of autistic children. Fauria’s autistic son is two. Gumm’s autistic son will be in second-grade. “I guess when we got together we realized there was a need for financial help and to get resources down here in the Valley and find therapists in the Valley who can do ABA,” Gumm said. “One of the things we’re trying to do is raise awareness with state and federal government agencies that we need help funding these types of therapies.” As part of that attempt, the parents have found a special education teacher named Terese Finlay and a Dr. Mark Adams to come to Douglas County to work with autistic students. Ultimately, if the fund-raiser is effective money keeps coming in, the group would like to build a treatment center in Douglas County within several years. The fund-raiser is at , which has a large grove of Aspen trees, wild flowers and a creek as a setting. Fauria’s parents, David and Susan Semas purchased Buffalo Creek in 1997 when David moved his company METALAST International Inc. to Douglas County. “It’s really pretty,” Fauria said. The show features Rick Metz, a highly-rated saxophonist. Silent auction items include two season passes to Kirkwood, dinner at La Ferme in Genoa, a room and dinner for two at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Reno, 49ers tickets, hair cuts at Drago Salon in Minden and an overnight stay in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Daly Scoop in Minden is catering and Sugarplum Bakery and Treats in Genoa will also supply desert. Seating at the fund-raiser is not limited to individuals. Companies can sponsor tables or buy a table. “It’s going to be good food and a lot of fun and it’s for a good cause,” Gumm said. Break-out #1 Several hundred tickets are still available for purchase. Tickets are for sale at: Down On The Farm Country Gift Store: 1572 Hwy 395, Minden; 783-1760. La Ferme: in Genoa, 783-1004. Call Wendi at 742-4138. Break-out #2 How autism may show in a child: • No real fear of danger • Over-attachment to objects • No response to verbal communication • May not talk • Severe temper tantrums • Prefers to be alone • Repeating words instead of developing language • Difficulty expressing needs and wants • Little or no response to physical contact Supplied by the Autism Society of America

Autism advocates appear before school board

April is Autism Awareness Month. Toni Gumm, a Douglas County parent of an autistic first-grader, tries to do something each year to honor the month. On Tuesday, Gumm and others came to public comment at the school board meeting to implore the district to support a program for autism. “We want to work in cooperation with the school district,” she said. Gumm and a group of parents, including Ranee Gaines and Wendi Semas, also parents of autistic children, have started an autism support group, called Families for Effective Autism Treatment or FEAT. On Tuesday, Gumm asked the school board to pass that information onto parents of autistic children. “The district does not have a program for children with autism,” she said. “We do not see TEDDY (Teaching Each Developmentally Delayed Youngster) as it is structured right now dealing with the needs of our children.” Gumm suggested that the school district use one of the district’s three TEDDY sections — held at C.C. Meneley Elementary School, Jacks Valley Elementary School and Sunshine and Rainbows Child Care Preschool in the Gardnerville Ranchos (in the future to be moved to Gardnerville Elementary School) — be used solely for autistic children. “We can easily fill up a section of TEDDY,” she said. “The number of children diagnosed in the Valley with autism is rapidly growing.” Gaines, a mother of two autistic children, gave her twin 3-year-old sons, Jeremiah and Nehemiah, to someone else to watch before she spoke. The boys cried wildly. “I am going to share with you the program I have found profoundly effective to my boys called the ABLLS program, acronym for the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills,” she said. “At 3-years-old (my sons) constantly threw temper tantrums, they had about five words in their vocabulary and they didn’t acknowledge each other. … Within months of the program, along with speech and clinical occupational therapy, they were happy kids.” Gaines asked the school board to consider implementing ABLLS in an autism program. “Carson City and Lyon County have implemented programs,” she said. Dr. Stephen Mayville of Sparks, a behavior consultant, said he observed the TEDDY program at JVES. The program did not meet the one-on-one needs of autistic children. The ratio of five children to one teacher “preclude(s) a highly individualized program,” he said. “I do believe it’s cost effective to implement an autism program,” he said. Public comment provides an opportunity for members of the public to make comment before the board. School board members are not required to respond to any comments made. The board is required to set apart the time and to give each person signed-up for comment a chance to speak. Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’neill@recordcourier.com or (775) 782-5121, ext. 214.

Autism benefit weekend coming Aug. 3-5

Since Dave Fauria was born five years ago, his parents, Wendi and Garritt Fauria have learned what it’s like to raise a child with autism. Until a year ago, Dave had not spoken a word, and now he’s not only talking, but spelling just about anything. “Spell ‘anything,’” said his father, Garritt Fauria. “A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G,” said Dave, and his parents and two therapists cheered. “B-I-R-D,” Dave said when his dad asked him to spell “bird.” And when asked to spell “wolf,” Dave replied “W-O-L-F,” and his dad let out a howl. Dave laughed. Dave also knows important information now, like his phone number, which he learned only a few months ago. “He really, in the last year, has progressed amazingly,” said Wendi Fauria. “He can spell words and read and type. He just turned 5 and he can tell you that now. It’s pretty cool.” Dave’s parents tried a lot of programs, but settled on Applied Behavioral Analysis, an intensive one-on-one therapy. Since summer started, Dave is going to the Discovery Center, a “preschool and kinder fun club,” offered by Douglas County Parks & Recreation. “We’ve gone the ABA route,” said Dave’s mom. “He goes to the Discovery Center every day. “The kids there are awesome,” said Dave’s dad. Including his time at the Discovery Center, Dave is in therapy 35-40 hours a week. During the summer, Douglas County School District provides an aide three days a week, and Dave’s parents pay for an aide the other four days, which costs them about $5,000 a month, plus an additional $100-$200 for medical treatment. “He’s way past kindergarten academically,” said Wendi Fauria. “But, he needs the socialization. That’s why the school district pays for Discovery.” “He’s brilliant,” said Garritt Fauria. “He can read and write and memorize everything. I look at it like he’s got a huge ram (memory), but a slow processor.” “He’s always happy,” said Dave’s mom, smiling at her son who was laughing hysterically while his dad tickled him on the floor. “Honestly, right now his biggest deficit is attention and focus.” Wendi Fauria said besides behavioral problems, autistic children often have gastro-intestinal complications. Dave is on a strict diet, takes supplements and has quarterly medical tests. Dr. Miriam Jang in San Rafael, Calif., has been treating Dave since he was 22 months old. She works under the Defeat Autism Now movement. “There have been many kids within the DAN movement that have been cured of autism,” Dave’s mom said. The Faurias keep detailed data sheets on everything Dave does – what he eats, drinks, his moods, sleep habits and every time he goes to the bathroom. Wendi’s father, David Semas, acts as her adviser in developing a financial plan to build a center for autism in Carson Valley. Families for Effective Autism Treatment was formed in October 2003. FEAT’s first Autism Benefit for Children, a charity dinner at the Semas ranch in the Foothills, was held in 2004. The fourth annual FEAT ABC Weekend will take place Aug. 3-5. The main event is a dinner and concert held Saturday, Aug. 4, at Buffalo Creek Ranch. Music will be by David John and the Comstock Cowboys. Catering is by Men Wielding Fire. The evening also includes both live and silent auctions. Tickets are $100 and are available at Casa Bella Home & Garden Center in Minden, Glen Eagles Restaurant in Carson City and online at FeatOfTheCarsonValley.org. The concert is sandwiched between two additional events which will take place at Genoa Lakes Golf Course: the Buffalo Creek Invitational Golf Tournament on Friday, Aug. 3, and a benefit champagne brunch on Sunday, Aug. 5. The cost to participate in the golf tournament is $300 per person ($200 tax deductible). Golf sponsorships are available at $500 each. To register for the golf tournament or to sponsor the event, e-mail dms@buffalocreekranchnv.com or for information visit http://www.FeatOfTheCarsonValley.org or call 782-4138. The champagne brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Antoci’s Restaurant at Genoa Lakes has been added for the first time this year. The cost for the champagne brunch is $28.95. For reservations call 782-6645. FEAT generated more than $100,000 in net proceeds in 2006, of which 40 percent went toward a fund to build an autism center and 60 percent was given to families in Northern Nevada with autistic children. “On average, one in 150 children are born autistic nationally,” said Wendi Fauria. She said they are in the process of applying for a grant to build the center, but the grant won’t cover the land it would be constructed on. That money will have to be donated or earned. The Faurias admit they are lucky to have so many people on their side, like Wendi’s father and the therapists from Behavior Education Services Training. BEST therapist Jennifer Houlmiere has known the Faurias since she was 12 years old and was in a youth group at Calvary Chapel where Garritt Fauria used to be the youth pastor. Houlmiere and others who were in the youth group decided to become ABA therapists after knowing Dave. “Because of being youth pastor, we got the chance to meet all these phenomenal kids that want to help us,” said Dave’s dad. Houlmiere is one of eight people on Dave’s “team.” She is a therapist for four other autistic children as well. She said Dave has come a long way in his therapy sessions. “Oh my gosh, the language, I don’t think he was speaking any words a year ago,” said Houlmiere. “There’s no tantrums anymore. The eye contact – the fact that he will look at you and come to you is huge.” “Actually, the most amazing thing we’ve seen is his ability to say ‘yes’ and ‘no,’” said Dave’s dad. “It’s a lot easier to keep the faith when you have these little glimmers of hope,” Dave’s mom added. — Jo Rafferty can be reached at jrafferty@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 210.

For childen with autism, little things mean a lot

In 1999, around the time 8-year-old Alex Gumm was diagnosed with autism, the state Department of Education identified 273 Nevada children with the disorder. By 2003, that number had reached 1,164. More than half those children – around 700 – are between 2 and 8 years old. That includes 20 families in Carson Valley, some with more than one child diagnosed with autism. “It’s an epidemic,” said Toni Gumm, 38, Alex’s mother. “One in 166 people have autism. Parents are demanding answers and therapies and the numbers keep climbing.” Autism is defined as a complex developmental disability that affects an individual in social interaction and communication. According to the Autism Society of America, 1.5 million Americans – children and adults – are thought to have autism. Among the statistics is 2-1/2-year-old Dave Fauria, the brown-eyed, brown-haired son of Wendi and Garritt Fauria of Gardnerville who stopped smiling at his mother around his first birthday. “When he was a year old, I started to get really worried,” Wendi Fauria, 35, said. “We were sitting at the table and he was looking through me. It was like somebody took him from me.” She took her baby to the doctor who, she said, dismissed her as a “paranoid, first-time mom.” It took three months for doctors to diagnose Dave, valuable time that parents of autistic children said needs to be invested in early intervention. He spends up to eight hours a day in one-on-one therapy at the Faurias’ home. In June, when he is 3, Dave will start pre-school through the Douglas County School District. His mother, an accountant, created a spreadsheet to map out the 50 food supplements she gives Dave every day and schedule weekly treatments she believes remove the toxins from his system that aggravate the autism. “His improvement has been awesome,” she said. Today, Dave has his smile back. Dave’s treatment is expensive and all the costs are borne by the Faurias. One of the roadblocks faced by parents of children with autism is that insurance companies don’t pay for treatment. That’s why Gumm and Fauria helped organize a Carson Valley chapter of Families for Effective Autism Treatment. Last summer, the group held a fund-raiser at Fauria’s parents’ ranch in the Foothills and raised $30,000. They had hoped to put the money toward creation of autism treatment center for local families, but found that parents desperately needed financial help with treatment for their children. The group is sponsoring an event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 17 at Lampe Park in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Gumm said everyone is invited to the free event, but she is requesting reservations to make sure each child receives a gift bag. Alex is in second grade at Scarselli Elementary School. He attended a special program at University of Nevada, Reno, that prepared him to go to regular school. “Academically, he does well,” Gumm said. She and her husband, Allen, both teach in the school district. “He can read at or above grade level. He has problems when you ask him questions,” she said. Alex also has challenges in social skills. “He loves to be around other children. Sometimes, he doesn’t know how to go up to other kids and have conversations,” she said. Fauria and Gumm have both faced what they refer to as the bad parenting label when their children act out in public. “They (autistic children) look normal, people think they should be acting normal,” Gumm said. “People think we are bad parents.” Sometimes, Gumm hands out small cards provided by the Autism society that offer suggestions for interacting with someone who has autism and insight into how that person might behave. Alex has two sisters, Bailey, 9 and Carli, 4. “The best therapy for this is his two doting sisters,” Gumm said. Alex loves to write and illustrate stories and cook. He plays basketball and takes tae kwon do. “When he broke his first board, I just started to cry,” Gumm said. Gumm, Fauria and parent Phillip Stein helped organize FEAT as a support group for families. “Our meetings aren’t crying fests,” Fauria said. “Our parents need the support of other parents. There is not a how-to book on dealing with autism.” “We want people to know there is hope, there is help,” Fauria said. “Our hope is that if my husband and I work tirelessly with Dave, in a few years we will have a fully functioning adult. I look at Alex and think if Dave turns out that well, it will be fine.” “I love Alex’s innocence and his sense of humor,” his mother said. “He makes us laugh every day.” “We’ve learned not to take for granted what they do,” Fauria said. DETAILS Families for Effective Autism Treatment presents Autism Awareness Month Gathering 11 a.m.-2 p.m., April 17 at Lampe Park. The event is open to the public. Because of strict dietary guidelines for some children, families are asked to bring their own picnics. Gluten- and casein-free desserts will be provided. The gathering will feature a “bounce house” and goodie bags for the children. Reservations are requested to have enough bags for the children. Information, 782-4138. ON THE WEB Families for Effective Autism Treatment, Carson Valley http://www.featofthecarsonvalley.org Autism Society of America http://www.autism-society.org Children and adults with autism: — May not understand what you say — Appear deaf — Be unable to speak or speak with difficulty — Engage in repetitive behaviors — Act upset for no apparent reason — Appear insensitive to pain — Appear anxious or nervous — Dart away from you unexpectedly — Engage in self-stimulating behaviors like hand flapping or rocking Source: Autism Society of America

‘There are families who desperately need help now’

After the birth of her son in 2003, Wendi Fauria filled photo albums with dozens of pictures of his smiling face. At eight months, she noticed that bright smile had started to change into a blank stare. Dave Fauria, 11, was diagnosed with autism seven months later. "My heart dropped. I was thinking it was a dream and it wasn't real. I had no idea what autism was," Wendi said. "He would stare off into space just looking blankly. He didn't speak his first word until he was 3." Dave started doing behavior therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and auditory integration training right away. Wendi even began making all Dave's food at home since he could no longer eat beef, dairy, gluten and many fruits. "He eats protein, veggies and a couple fruits," she said. "He's the healthiest child ever. He's never even had a cavity." All Dave's therapies cost the family $60,000-100,000 a year, which they paid out of their own pocket. During this time, the Fauria's met other families struggling to afford autism treatments. In 2004, Garritt and Wendi started the nonprofit Families for Effective Autism Treatment to help other families pay for treatments. "Having a child with autism is a drain on finances and an emotional drain," Wendi said. "They say, it takes a village to raise a typical child, but it takes a county to help raise our special babies." After years of selling off stock, mortgaging their house and borrowing money from families, the Fauria's stepped down from FEAT in order to get financial help from the organization themselves. In 2012, they decided to try stem cell treatments, where Dave's own live stem cells from the fatty tissue and bone marrow are reinjected back into his blood stream.. "Stem cells are like homing pigeons. When there's something wrong with our body it sends out distress signals," Wendi explained. "The stem cells find what part of the body is sending out the biggest signal and it fixes it." After the first treatment in the Dominican Republic, Wendi noticed a change in her son. He was much calmer and the stomach problems he had been having greatly improved. The first treatment the family paid for themselves, the second one a year later FEAT helped cover some of the cost. Dave has continued to improve. "He became more aware of the people around him, and now it's so much different," Wendi said. "There's a huge communication improvement. Now we can take him almost anywhere. We still have a lot of work to do, but things are much better now than when he was first diagnosed." To continue to fund autism treatments for others, FEAT is having its annual 5K walk/10K run fundraiser April 26 at Heritage Park. Registration is 9 a.m. for the 10K, and 9:30 a.m. for the 5K. There will be vendor booths set up at the park, entertainment by Anthony Joseph and free lunch by Russells Catering for all participants. FEAT has helped approximately 50 families in the last decade all over Northern Nevada, and every penny raised from the walk contributes to the cause. "We really need people to come out and support. There are families who desperately need help now," Wendi said. "If other families can't get help from FEAT they're going to stall in their progress. Every penny will directly help a child." Cost for the walk/run is $35 for the 5K and $55 for the 10K. To register or to donate, visit http://www.featcv.org. For more information, email info@featcv.org.

Sign-ups begin for annual 5K Walk-Run for autism

Families for Effective Autism Treatment of the Carson Valley is having its second annual 5K Walk-Run April 30. Last year the group had close to 100 participants and raised almost $15,000. This year, event chairwoman Tara Addeo said she is hoping to double those numbers. “We would love for the community to come together and do this for children with autism,” she said. The 5 K (3.2 miles) route will begin at Heritage Park in Gardnerville and make its way to the end of Mono Avenue and back. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the run/walk starts at 10 a.m. There will be food, music and vendors set up in the park this year. FEAT volunteer Wendi Fauria said that 100 percent of the net proceeds from the event will help Northern Nevada families pay for autism therapy and treatments that they couldn’t afford to pay on their own. Most insurance companies don’t cover autism treatments and the most effective therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, costs between $40,000-80,000 a year. Last year, FEAT helped 13 families pay for some of the costs of therapy. “Therapies are so expensive that most families can’t afford anything,” Fauria said. “It really is the difference between children progressing or staying locked in the world of autism.” Autism rates in the United States have become an epidemic going from one in every 10,000 children having autism in the 1980s, to one in every 110 children now. “We desperately need community support to help these children not become a burden on our system in the future,” Fauria said. “The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis is for their future.” People of all ages are invited to participate in the walk/run, and children with autism can walk for free. Registration costs $25 before April 10, and $30 after. A vendor participant can buy a 10-foot-by-10-foot space for $25 or an event sponsorship costs $150, which includes a vendor space and company logo on an event T-shirt. All participants receive a goody bag, T-shirt and food after the walk, and all fees are tax-deductible. In support of autism awareness month, Indigo Restaurant & Bar is serving champagne and hors d’oeuvres 5-7 p.m. Friday with a portion of the sales benefiting FEAT of the Carson Valley. For more information or to register for the 5K walk-run visit http://www.featofthecarsonvalley.org or call 782-4138.

Douglas final basketball season statistics

Record: 23-9 overall, 11-3 Sierra League, 8-2 home, 8-1 away, 7-6 neutral Team Statistics Points for: 2,113 Points against: 1,767 3-pointers for: 114 3-pointers against: 121 Free throws for: 383-610 Free throws against: 345-527 Field goals for: 879 Field goals against: 633 Scoring by quarters Douglas 486 509 545 565 8 – 2,113 Opponent 402 413 457 492 3 – 1,767 Individual statistics *Keith Olson 203 71-116 477 *Mike Gransbery 133 49-66 386 *Jeff Nady 92 59-90 248 James McLaughlin 78 28-49 200 *Kevin Emm 74 27-42 194 Joe Nady 76 21-34 177 David Laird 55 46-62 156 *Nate Whalin 27 5-16 59 Jared Trowbridge 10 33-47 55 Ryan McPeek 16 17-32 50 Brandon Bernard 7 12-19 27 Herman Fillmore 4 11-16 19 Ross Bertolone 8 2-12 18 *- Starters 3-pointers Mike Gransbery 72 Kevin Emm 18 James McLaughlin 17 Joe Nady 4 Keith Olson 2 Brandon Bernard 1 Ryan McPeek 1 Fouled out Jeff Nady 4 Joe Nady 4 James McLaughlin 2 Kevin Emm 2 Keith Olson 1 David Laird 1 Nate Whalin 1 Record: 14-17 overall, 8-6 Sierra League, 5-3 home, 5-6 away, 4-7 neutral TEAM Points for: 1,353 Points against: 1,297 INDIVIDUAL SCORING *Jessica Waggoner 370 *Bridget Maestretti 173 Dana Pardee 149 *Taryn Williams 107 (from 12/27) *Dany Heidt 71 *Sarah Hartley 70 Nicole Didero 29 Katie Buffo 20 Allie Hughes 18 Kaela Horse 18 Michelle Richardson 12 Lisa Christen 8 Kristin Wyatt 6 Gina Pfaffenberger 2 * – Starters

Final batch of 2009 laws take effect today

As a new governor and Legislature gear up for the 2011 session next month, a small collection of laws passed in the 2009 session is just now taking effect. There is a list of seven bills with provisions that didn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2011 – today. The most prominent on the list is AB162, which requires health care insurance companies to offer coverage for autistic children. The provisions require certain health care plans and insurance policies to provide coverage for the screening and diagnosis of autism, as well as treatment. It was introduced by Assemblyman James Ohrenschall and co-sponsored by 35 other members of the Assembly as well as 16 senators. The autism provisions were added to a list of required coverages for such things as colorectal cancer screenings and mammograms. Also effective with the new year are requirements in AB14 designed to improve reporting of student achievement in public schools. The bill requires the Nevada Department of Education and school districts to adopt a model that allows the progress of pupils in a public school to be tracked from year to year. Also dealing with education is SB303, which adopted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The compact sets guidelines for children of military families dealing with enrollment, placement, graduation and other activities as they move from state to state. AB148 toughens the requirements for safety training of construction workers. Those changes were made in the wake of a series of accidents in Southern Nevada to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on building sites. AB202 adds language requiring those seeking licensing as cosmetologists, hair designers, nail technologists and related professionals to complete instruction in infection control. AB513 implements new educational requirements for escrow agents to complete accredited courses in the principles, practices, law and ethics of the escrow process. It mandates requirements for both new licensees and renewals. Finally, AB80 clarifies and spells out the rights of sewer system operators and those responsible for projects that reach into public right of ways for the costs incurred during excavation or demolition projects.