Nicole Lannyk has won the hearts of many through her efforts to improve the lives of children affected by autism.
She had a little help from her employers John and Robyne Smith, owners of the Manawa Steak House,
Earlier this year, the Smiths, along with John Arabshian of the Landing Strip, decided to host a golf outing in an effort to raise monies for Autism Matters Summer program (SSE) and Breast Cancer Awareness. The proceeds of the golf outing were split, with each business donating their share to the charity of their choice.
Autism Matters, Inc. started in 2007 when founders Willy and Nicole Lannyk were unable to enroll their son, James, in a summer autism program because she was told he wasn’t a good “fit.” Nicole envisioned a place that would accept her son for who he was and provide the routine and structure that children with autism thrive on.
With this vision in mind, she developed Autism Matters, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Waupaca.
Highly qualified staff works with children with autism to help establish routines and develop a lifestyle that fits with their needs. Autism Matters, Inc. also works with children to help with learning, creativity and interpersonal skills. It’s a unique program in that all children with autism are accepted and receive assistance from certified staff.
Autism is a severe lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. It’s a neurological disorder that affects the brain, interfering with normal development in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and leisure or play activities. This disorder makes it difficult for them to communicate with the outside world.
One in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism compared to 2,500 in 1995.
Autism Matters Inc. has a mission to provide individuals with Autism and their families the support that will help them to lead a full, meaningful and productive life.
In three short years the SSE program has grown from eight children to 18 this past year. The organization is looking at enrolling 23-24 children next summer. For enrollment and more information on SSE visit www.autismmatterswaupaca.com or call 920-867-2847.
The Smith’s, John Arabshian and their staff appreciate the area businesses who donated prizes and services to make this outing a huge success.