HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The parents of a young boy with autism are helping him fulfill his very unique birthday wish.
“I want to help all kids to get superpowers,” said 8-year old Landon Smith.
Landon has autism, but his family refers to the diagnosis as his ‘superpowers.’ Just like any superhero, powers have to be built. For Landon, his training tools are items that keep him calm, while also further developing his mind.
“[We’re] kind of embarrassed to think, like, that’s what it took, but that’s what it took was him saying, ‘Hey I want to help other kids with their superpowers.’ So we were like, ‘Alright!’ said parents Chris and Lauren Smith.
Landon’s Puzzle Pieces was born. Throughout Landon’s birthday month of October, the Smith family is accepting gifts like weighted blankets, tablets, and more to donate to the Autism Society of Alabama so other kids can practice building their powers too.
“Having something to work on with your hands, or having a way for your child to relax on a tablet or to feel secure, what an amazing blessing to be able to give somebody,” Lauren said.
Gifts like these, especially during the pandemic, are sorely needed.
“With the pandemic, therapy centers are closed, insurance might be lost due to a job loss and we wanted to be able to provide the items that helped our child, to allow them to have them in their homes permanently to help their child, no cost to them,” Lauren said.
Chris and Lauren say children on the spectrum need routine therapy to keep progressing. Not having access to those therapy centers can set a child back exponentially.
“When you look at physical therapy, occupational therapy, you need those items to be hands-on, and if you have a family that doesn’t have the supplemental items, and was relying on the primary method of going to that therapy center to get it, there’s going to be a major lag,” Chris said. “Any special needs parents gonna tell ya, if we don’t have therapy during that time, we can have relapses, regression. That’s horrifying for a parent.”
The Smith family says this journey is not an easy one, but having a special needs network allows them to always have access to help, and now, to give it.
“We’ve always kind of taken the approach of, you have one hand forward reaching to the person that’s gone before you in this and one hand behind you, pulling the next parent with you,” Lauren said.
The family, Landon included, agree the feeling is amazing. To donate items to Landon’s Puzzle Pieces, click here.