-- Peace raises awareness of autism, presents memorial resolutions to honor Matthew and Tyler Frank – -- Praises Hanover County Public Schools and Hanover County Sheriff’s Office --
Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was delighted to host Joanna Frank, mother of Tyler and Matthew Frank at the Capitol recently to raise awareness of autism and to present her memorial resolutions to honor the legacy and lasting impact her sons had on the Hanover community. April is Autism Awareness month.
Mrs. Frank is a strong and courageous mother and zealous advocate for services for autistic children. The Franks moved to Hanover County in 2000 with twin sons in need of supportive services. The family was one of the first families in Hanover County to appeal to the Commonwealth for what was then known as an MR support waiver; Tyler Frank and his twin, Mathew, were the first children in Hanover to receive this waiver, which would later open the door to add other children to the waiver program and receive in-home services and specialized educational services through Hanover County Public Schools.
Her sons’ disabilities inspired their mother, Joanna Frank, to begin a number of programs in Hanover County seeking to give the boys an equal opportunity to obtain an education, play, grow, and exist as any other child would. These programs would also benefit many other children living in the community with similar disabilities. The presence of Tyler and Mathew Frank inspired Hanover County schools to create autism programs in elementary, middle, and high schools.
In 2000, Mathew Frank was the first person in Hanover County to receive a Project Life Saver watch, which also contained a GPS tracking device to help local police find individuals with disabilities if lost. Each month a deputy from Hanover County would visit Mathew Frank to change the batteries on the device. These were his favorite visits.
“These special young men helped initiate specialized autism training for police officers, school resource officers, and first responders in Hanover County. Each individual with autism is unique and requires specialized approaches to intervention from community helpers; these programs have helped educate and equip hundreds of Hanover County community helpers to safely interact and assist individuals and their families with autism and other similar disabilities,” stated Peace. “I applaud the Hanover Sheriff’s Office and the Hanover County Public Schools for their efforts in ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of these children in our community.”
Autism spectrum disorder is the result of a group of complex neurological disorders that affects the normal functioning of the human brain and can be exhibited by anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States in their 2014 ADDM autism prevalence report. For more information visit Autism Society of Central Virginia at http://ascv.org/.