Grandmother's Love Could Bring More Autism Awareness

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Midessa - An Odessa grandmother is trying to bring more awareness to a disorder plaguing families here in West Texas - autism. She told NewsWest 9 it's the love of a grandson that inspired her.

"I didn't really know what he had," Malissa Roach, Grandmother of an autistic boy, said. "At first, I just new there was something not right."

Playing with his younger brother, Colin looks like other kids but he's not.

"My son actually said 'What's wrong with Colin? Is he Autistic or something?'" Roach said. "And I was like that's it. That's what it is."

Colin had many classic signs of the disorder; he didn't speak, look at people, or play with or like other children, but the four year old was just diagnosed last year.

Not by a local doctor by they couldn't find one to test him.

"One (doctor) felt like he didn't look like he had Autism, and Autism doesn't have a look," Roach said.

A pediatrician visiting from Houston confirmed Roach's suspicions.

"I think it's taking a lot longer here for people to find out," Colin's Mother, Brittany Ramzel, said. "Both of our kids, the other girl's son that I know was about Colin's age, and they were pretty old to be diagnosed with Autism."

After the diagnosis, Roach quickly learned there weren't many local resources for parents.

She decided to fix that problem, now she's in charge of the Permian Basin's first Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

They hope hundreds of people will come together on May 8 at the Horseshoe Arena in Midland to walk for, learn about and raise money for Autism.

The goal is to raise $10,000. She also hopes it removes the stigma for everyone in the area.

"It's not about geography," Roach said. "It's about being able to have resources in this area that we didn't previously have."

So more families and kids get the help they need sooner.

Roach says she still could use volunteers, sponsors and of course people to walk.

For more information on how to sign up just click on the Newslinks section.