Parents in Toto Articles
There are some really amazing holiday lights in neighborhoods throughout the area. But there’s one in Cranberry Township, Butler County, which is pretty impressive, and it raises money for an important cause.
For families of people with autism it is not always easy to find a place where they can have fun in a stress-free environment. That is why the free Parents in Toto Autism Resource Center in Zelienople was started to serve hundreds of families from throughout the region.
Heather Frech of North Sewickley Township knows about autism. It is a part of her family’s daily life. Her son Joey, 9, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome about four years ago, after what Frech describes as a long journey. Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder, one of a distinct group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties and restrictive, repetitive, patterns of behavior.
Mary Limbacher couldn’t help but feel frustrated during the years before her son Andy was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, seven years ago. Limbacher, of Cranberry Township, was equally frustrated in the three years that followed as she fought to learn more about autism spectrum disorders.
Quality of life is increased when we have a sense of community around us and understanding from our loved ones. A good life at home can bring many positive outcomes for people afflicted with disorders.
Mary Limbacher knows how difficult it can be when a parent hears the word “autism” in relation to her own child. When she and her husband first heard that word to describe the behavior of their son, Andy, she was stunned. “The first time I heard the word 14 years ago, I didn’t even know what it really was,” she said. Mrs. Limbacher began her own research campaign, reading and learning as much as she could about the diagnosis. It didn’t help that the diagnosis came out of what seemed like nowhere for the couple and that school administrators gave them little advice.
When Mary Limbacher's son was found to have Asperger's syndrome when he was in the fifth grade, the confirmation came after three years of misdiagnosises, rounds to different specialists and endless questions without answers. Andy Limbacher is an adult now, taking classes for a mechanical engineering degree at Butler County Community College and holding down a part-time job, but Mary Limbacher said, “I will never forget how lonely and desperate I felt for my son and for me, too.”
When Mary Limbacher’s son was diagnosed in fifth grade with Asperger’s syndrome, a particular form of autism, she realized how important a support base would be in raising her child. As her son was entering sixth grade in 2000, Limbacher began Cranberry CARES, a support group specifically designed for parents with children who have Asperger’s syndrome. Limbacher realized that she was not alone and made it her goal to help parents and individuals who deal with forms of autism in any way she could. In the beginning of 2008, Limbacher opened the doors of her non-profit, Parents in Toto, located at 143 South Main Street in Zelienople, to help others.
Autism to many is a scary term. It is a diagnosis that no parent wants to hear. Many parents, who struggle to find out what is wrong with their child, are relieved to receive a definitive diagnosis. This gives the family and service providers a place to start in helping the child mature and develop into a contributing member of society.
Mary Wildman’s life changed forever just a few days after her son’s first birthday. She took her son to the pediatrician for an ear infection, but during the appointment she was told her son was also due for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Artist with autism, Cree Mullin, in an interview with William Rock on Art and Inspiration, articulates autism and how it actually enhances his sensitivity and insights in terms of the life he lives and the art he creates. In addition, Mary Limbacher founder of Parents in Toto an Autism Resource Center for families, discusses the characteristics and creative sensitivities of those diagnosed with autism and aspergers.
Parents in Toto's autism resource center is starting 2020 with expanded hours
A grant and an ample need for community have extended game time on Main Street. Parents in Toto's autism resource center is starting 2020 with expanded hours. The center is now opening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first three Saturdays of each month for community game time.