Autistic man learned about life through Scouting

KUSA - As journalists we're trained to report on other people, so for some of us it's a little uncomfortable talking about ourselves.

In this case, the story is my son Jack, who is 21 years old, but who's been a Scout since he was in the second grade.

The Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts asked us to share our story to support the recent Sports Breakfast with Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning.

Jack was diagnosed with autism several months before his second birthday. This was devastating news for my wife Brenda and me. For several years we worked feverishly to find the right information and therapies to address Jack's autism.

Most people associate the word autism with the 1988 film Rainman starring Dustin Hoffman. The film accurately depicts the difficulty Hoffman's character has with social situations, which is the key feature of autism.

But it also suggests that people with autism have a secret talent, like counting cards in Las Vegas.

While this is true for some individuals, it doesn't apply to everyone.

The reason Jack and I told our story, is because of the role Scouting has played for the past 15 years with Jack's development. His autism is profound, and interferes with many of the everyday activities the rest of us take for granted: Driving a car. Having interactive conversations with people throughout the day. Jobs. Relationships Pretty much everything.

But for Jack, Scouting offered an opportunity to be around kids his own age while learning how to camp, fish and hike. Pretty much everything.

This Saturday is the annual Denver Area Council Scout Show at the National Western Complex from 10am-4pm.

Scouts in uniform and their families have free admission. The general public can attend with the purchase of a $5 coupon card.


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