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Danvers Mom Wears Blue for World Autism Day

Jeanette Gaudet, single mom of a son with autism has struggled with getting the right services for her son, but fights for him and other children with special needs.

Name: Jeanette Gaudet

Street: Perkins Road

Family: Kelsie, 9 and Tyler, 11

Occupation: District Manager for Dots. Jeanette covers five stores in Massachusetts.

What are you passionate about:  "I am passionate about special needs children and advocating for them," Jeanette said.

April 2 is the fifth annual World Autism Day and Jeanette is showing her support by wearing blue with her children, and putting a blue light out at their house.

Jeanette is amazed and saddened that the ratio of children with autism is now 1:88. When her son Tyler, who has autism, was born it was 1:150 and years ago it was 1:1000.

“We need to get on the ball and support and educate," she said. "What if in ten years the ratio is 1:30?"

Jeanette is appreciative of the companies like Toys R Us and Lindt chocolate supporting Autism Speaks. In Danvers, is matching customer donations to the cause .

"When people see Tyler in a store they don’t know how to react. People will apologize or stare," she said. "What I am most passionate about is educating the public."

Jeanette wants people to know that children with autism are people with feelings.

“If you see a child with autism, just say hello. It’s important for children with autism to go to all the normal places that we all go to. It may take time for them to get used to the noises, crowds and the hustle and bustle.  But going over and over is critical to the children getting used to these places."

Hobbies:  Camping, walking and spending time at the beach

Favorite Movie: Pretty Woman

Dream Vacation: “My dream vacation would be Hawaii," she said. "I have been once and would love to go back again.”

Favorite Shop:

Favorite Eatery: but looking forward to trying

Favorite place in town: “I love , I love to stop and eat my lunch there.”

How Long have you lived in Danvers: “All my life."

Why did you choose Danvers: “I have lived here all my life, I grew up here and love the community, bumping into people I know all over town, the school system, it’s just a nice town.”

Where will people see you around town: “, , and ”.

What would you like to see changed in town: Jeanette would like to see access to special needs services more easily accessible.  Although she loves , like most towns, it’s hard to put services in place for children who need it. Parents must be educated in the process in order to access what they need for their children and Jeanette feels the process leads to many children falling through the cracks.

Michael J Bourgault April 02, 2012 at 01:50 PM
My son is a high functional autistic man. He is 27 years old. Still lives at home, doesn't drive although he does have a drivers license. The problem with older autistic children is that there is nothing available but group homes for them to live in. What would be ideal is a place like Brooksby Village. Then autistic adults can live in their own "space/apartment" and have the option to socialize with other residents at will. Prepare and eat their own cooking or go to a cafeteria to eat meals prepared for them. Get transportation to Malls or other destinations they need to get to such as a Doctors visit. A lot of these members of society can cook, do their own laundry and generally take care of themselves. The problem is they still need people to advocate for their special needs once they reach adulthood, and their parents won't always be around to do that for them. Which is my biggest scare, who will care for them then? Not everyone has extended family around to pass this need onto after the parents are dead.
Melanie Skane April 02, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Our son has autism as well. I am thrilled you are spotlighting this today and getting the word out since the new statistics are frightening. It has become an epidemic. We have blue light bulbs outside our home today on Wadsworth Street for anyone willing to participate in lighting their house blue tonight (and better yet all month long for April Autism Awareness Month).
Sean Ward February 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Something must be causing the rise in cases. Sounds like a silly statement I know but what could it be? Is it in the parents food and drink? Is it that we spend more and more time in front of computers, smartphones, ipads, and televisions? Is it the increased use of flu and other vaccines or other medications as we seem to be also becoming more and more medication dependent? We had better figure it out before it's more like 1:1.

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