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Father of children with autism keynote speaker at luncheon

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 10:32 a.m. CDT
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Brian King

DeKALB – Every parent has a dream about watching his or her child grow into a successful adult. First-time parents frequently fill that dream with idealistic visions of shared experiences and easy transitions.

It was no different for Brian R. King of DeKalb, a social worker, author and father of three sons. After surviving cancer at a young age, King was thrilled when his oldest son, Zach, was born.

Zach appeared to be developing normally, though he did seem to have tremendous anxiety and a need for structure that kept King and his wife on their toes. When Zach began first grade, he began having more serious problems, including panic attacks and aggressive behavior that eventually led to a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

King said his attempts to advocate for his son at school fell on deaf ears, and King finally chose to home-school Zach for a time as he and his wife searched for a more suitable school environment. Over the next several years, the Kings had two more sons, both of whom were also eventually diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Through all the testing on his sons, King began gaining insight into his own struggles; he underwent an assessment and found he had previously undiagnosed dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Thanks to his diagnoses, King was able to seek out strategies and accomodations that offered him new ways to engage with the world and experience life more fully. As he continued to advocate for his sons, he caught the attention of other parents and educators who asked for his help. Soon, he began a business to help these families full-time.

Today, King is a best-selling author and nationally recognized presenter. He will present the keynote speech Thursday, Sept. 18, at RAMP’s DeKalb County Changing Attitudes Breaking Barriers Luncheon at Faranda’s.

The luncheon is intended to entertain and educate people; to make them more aware of their own attitudes toward people with disabilities and to inspire them to help break down barriers. Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, call 815-756-3202 or visit www.stayclassy.org/dekalbramp.

RAMP is a nonprofit that advocates for and serves people of any age, desiring as much independence as possible, and experiencing any disability that causes any degree of limitations to one or more major life activities. To learn more about RAMP, visit www.rampcil.org.

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