Fun Day planned for Autism Awareness

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

What is a Christmas Miracle made of?

For one Yazoo City child and others like her,  it takes the combined efforts of a loving parent, local businesses and community volunteers all working together to host a Christmas Fun Day for Autism Awareness on December 22.

Miracle Jynae Davis, is like any six-year-old child: sweet, loving, and sure to be on Santa's "Nice List." Miracle is, however, somewhat different, in that she is not able to speak or communicate effectively with other children her own age.

Miracle is on the autism spectrum, and has been diagnosed with Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delayed development, intellectual disability, severe speech impairment, problems with movement and balance, and an increased risk of seizures.

Miracle's mother, Jacquline Seaton, said that she wanted to organize the Community Christmas Fun Day so that children like her daughter could express themselves in their own way and enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season.

"I know that she is not the only child here with special needs, so I wanted to do something not just for my baby but for the other kids too," she said.

Seaton said that the Fun Day, which is free for children with special needs from Yazoo City and Yazoo County, will consist of several kinds of games for the children, as well as free food, toys, and drawings for the families that attend.

Another aspect of the Fun Day is to bring people together to so that families can form bonds and build a support system with each other.

"Any parent goes through a lot with any child," Seaton said. "But when you have with a child with special needs, you have a lot of extra responsibility and it can be hard."

She also said that part of the Fun Day will have a guest speaker, Keith Fisher, who works in psychology and has six years of experience in Special Education in the Yazoo City Municipal School District.  Seaton said that Keith will talk to parents and families on a variety of topics, including how to address a child's specific needs depending on his or her diagnosis or disorder.

Seaton said that she also plans to give her testimony as a parent of a child with special needs, and how it has impacted her life.

"I'm going to talk to the parents too," she said. "I am told that I am really strong, but I have breakdowns all the time when I see the things my baby has to go through.  I'm just trying to let other parents know that you are not in this by yourself."

Seaton said that she also hopes the Fun Day will encourage children with special needs to keep going and not feel held down by their disabilities.

"I want the children to know that any way you are, don't let this hold you back, you can still do what you want in life," she said. "I'm trying to let them know that they can go as far as they want to go, and where ever they want to go in life."

The Community Christmas Fun Day for Autism Awareness will take place on Saturday, December 22, from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. inside the Yazoo Community Complex, located at 516 East Canal Street in Yazoo City.  Seaton said volunteers are still needed for the event, as well as food, toys, and other essentials needed to make sure that local children with special needs will have a Christmas Miracle to call their own.

For more information about the event, or to donate items or volunteer, call Jacqueline Seaton at 662-590-6422, or Carolyn Hicks at 662-571-9301.