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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Autism support group seeks executive committee

By Jessie Ellis

There are few people who

know better what dealing with
Autism is like than Andrea Hittle.
She has four children, three of
whom are on the spectrum.
The support is get it as you
can, Hittle said.
Recognizing that there are families with children who are on the
spectrum in South Lyon who are
desperate for help, Hittle is teaming up with Youth Assistance to
form an Autism Support Group.
The support group is getting
ready to hold their first meeting in
January, but Hittle is looking for
executive committee members
right now.
When it comes to Autism, you
dont really have a choice. Youre
drafted, Hittle said.
According to the Centers for
Disease Control, Autism is, One
of a group of disorders known as
(ASDs) ... developmental disabilities that cause substantial impairments in social interaction, communication and the presence of
unusual behaviors and interests.
ADS occurs in 1 out of 150
children and is four times more
likely to occur in boys than in
girls. For comparisons sake,
Down Syndrome occurs in 1 in
800 births, juvenile diabetes in
about 1 in 400 to 500 and childhood cancer, about 1.5 in 10,000.
Instances of ADS are the fastest
growing childhood illness
though debate rages as to why
instances of ADS are increasing.
Linda Raye is the Director of
Special Services for South Lyon
Schools and she views the issues
through the lens of education.
Raye said she has seen a dramatic
increase in cases of Autism over
the last decade and a half.
Fifteen years ago there were
two cases in South Lyon. Today
there are close to 40, Raye said.
Raye is cautious when asked
about that increase. Is it a matter

of more cases, or more cases

being diagnosed?
A little of both, she said, noting that South Lyons population
has increased, as well.
For Raye, diagnosis is one part
of autism, but treatment is another. While researchers debate
genetics, environmental causes
and a possible virus, Raye is
focused on the quality of life for
the autistic children in the South
Lyon Schools special education
program. Ultimately, each child is
unique, she said, and what works
for one may not work for another.
The process of finding out what
works can be difficult and painful.
The increase in cases of Autism
has Raye and her staff of special
education teachers and para-educators refocusing their energies.
Raye said that the dedicated staff
undertakes intensive training and
shares information and technology for behavior and sensory
issues. The idea of a support
group for parents is a great idea,
Raye said
Any type of support for children or support for parents is
good, Raye said. Parents need
to bond with other parents. They
need that collegiality.
Hittle spent 12 years on the
spectrum. When her daughter
(Hittle prefers to protect her childrens privacy) was first diagnosed, teachers reported seeing
very few cases of Autism, perhaps
1 in 10 years.
Now we have 10 in 10 years.
Yes, the diagnostic tools have gotten better at detecting the more
severe cases, but there is no way
that it is just that the tools have
just gotten better, she said.
At the center of the debate are
families like Hittles; being on the
spectrum means there a lot of
questions, but not many answers.
Youre living in the middle of
the storm, she said.
Hittle talked about the social
isolation suffered by parents of
children on the spectrum.
Your family will leave you,

Photo by HAL GOULD

Nancy Minkler from Youth Assistance and Andrea Hittle, mom with children with autism plan for a support group
for parents. The group for families with autism will start in January, but an executive committee is needed now.
your friends will leave you. You
can become extremely socially
isolated. Sometimes its hard to
get through the day. Its hard to
get through the hour, sometimes,
Hittle said.
The Autism Support group will
provide a forum for parents who

are struggling to get through. The

group will be a safe place to talk
about living with autism with a
view from the trenches. There will
also be speakers who will be
invited to share with parents on
the various topics related to
autism, including finances, thera-

pies, research and advocacy.

I want them to know that
theyre really not alone, Hittle
said, describing spectrum parents
as traveling a parallel path with
little knowledge of other families
experiencing the same things.
Theyre hungry for knowledge

and fellowship, she said.

Anyone interested in serving on
the planning committee can call
Andrea Hittle at (248) 437-7848
or Youth Assistance at (248) 5738189. The Autism Support group
is also looking for volunteers to
staff childcare.

Toarminas owner falls in love with South Lyons small town feel
By Nathan Mueller

Chad Lindsay first came to

South Lyon about five years ago
to buy a utility trailer and knew it
was the place for him and his family.
All he needed was a reason to
move to the community. That reason came when he bought
Toarminas Pizza from his sister-inlaw in July. When the school year
ends, Chad, his wife, Roberta, and
their children Wray, 14, Ryan,
12, and Kevin, 11, will move to
South Lyon for good.
It reminds me of back home
(Connellsville, Pa.), Chad said.
Its rural but not completely out
in the sticks; the people are down
to Earth and that is what Im used
to. This is where Ill be the rest of
my life.
While the Lindsays have

Photo by HAL GOULD

(From left) Roberta Lindsay, Wray Lindsay, 14, Kevin Lindsay, 11, owner Chad Lindsay
and Ryan Lindsay, 12, pose with Toarminas famous 24-inch pizza. Chad bought
Toarminas Pizza from his sister-in-law and now that he has a reason to be in South
Lyon, plans to move his family there when the school year is over.

Adopt A Family for the season

By Nathan Mueller

The holiday season is the time

for giving, and there is no better
way to give than to Adopt A
Family through Active Faith
Community Services.
Active Faith Community
Services helps about 175 families
year round with the help of residents and local organizations, and
during the holidays, the outreach
program wants to make sure that
none of their families go without a
How the program works is a
person, family, church, business
or organization in the area can
adopt one or more of the families
to ensure that one of their neighbors will have a joyful holiday.
They are presented a wish list

from the family, listing items they

need and usually some gift ideas
for children in the family. The
adopter can then buy gifts off the
wish list, or provide any other
gifts they chose. There is no limit
on what they have to spend.
The best part is having people
come back after the holidays and
say how awesome of an experience it was, said Active Faith
Caseworker Lisa Durand.
Durand said she hopes to have
all the families adopted by Dec.
17 so that gift giving can take
place before Christmas.
After the adopter purchases all
the items for the family, they then
contact the family and set up a
time to deliver the gifts.
It is often a very emotional
time, Durand said.
Not only do community mem-

bers do this at Christmas, but they

continue to support the family
they adopted, she said. It is
wonderful to see the heroes that
we have in this community.
Adoption begins Nov. 1 and can
be done by calling Active Faith at
(248) 437-9790 or by going to the
Active Faith building, 401 S.
Washington St., on Monday,
Wednesday or Thursday from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact staff writer Nathan
Mueller (248) 437-2011 or at

owned the franchise since July,

the new ownership was officially
announced at Pumpkinfest. They
spent the summer months cleaning, painting and bringing in new
menu items such as ribs, fish and
chicken. The three kids spend
their weekends working at the
store, and it also has given them a
chance to be closer with their
Working with my family is
biggest asset, he said. My son
Kevin looked at me the other day
and said, Dad, I havent got to
spend this much time with you in
Chads most recent job was as a
general manager for a commercial
landscaping company, and he was
not around as much as he would
have liked. That has changed, and
in turn, made him a happier person.
The biggest challenge he said

he faces right now is getting to

know the regulars and making
sure people know that Toarminas
is a reputable pizza place.
It also is the most fun part.
It is probably one of the best
jobs I have ever had, he said. It
is exciting to get to meet new people and talk to people and get to
know your neighbors.
With the end of the school year
still more than six months away,
the Lindsays have some time
before they will get to call South
Lyon their permanent home.
But one thing is for sure when
they do move, we are getting a
nice big yard.
Toarminas Pizza is open
Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.
to 11 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to
midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m.
to midnight and Sunday from
noon to 10 p.m. To place an order,
call (248) 486-3860.

Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce for the
South Lyon Area is located at 125 N.
Lafayette St. in South Lyon. Need to
update e-mail or contact information?
Send an e-mail or call , (248) 437-3257.
Check out the chamber web site at

Tuesday, November 6 Election Day Dont forget to

Ladies Night Out, 5:30 to 9
p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at Saddle
Preakness Blvd., South Lyon (off
Pontiac Trail, north of Eleven
Mile). Saddle Creek is hosting a
holiday bazaar just for the ladies.
Enjoy a festive holiday atmosphere, a little shopping and a great
evening with the folks at Saddle
Creek. Bring a friend this event


Published Each Thursday
By The South Lyon Herald
101 Lafayette
South Lyon, Michigan 48178
At South Lyon, Michigan
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is just too fun to miss. For more

information, call Dawn at
De-Stress for the Holidays, 6
to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at
Pendleton Park Club House,
57715 Grand River Avenue, New
Enjoy a relaxing
evening and an opportunity to
share thoughts and strategies with
other women business owners.
Janice Eldon (Jans Skin Spa) and

Cheryl Wickham (Divine Yoga

and Massage) will speak on
Health and Wellness; Brenda
Smith, CPA will present on
Budget and Planning and Patti
Maida, Remerica United Realty
Event is complimentary;
refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP by Nov. 9 to Sue
Benfante at (248) 486-7939 or to


In accordance with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
requirements, notice is hereby given that the Charter Township of Lyon
will hold a public hearing at 7:00 p.m. on Monday November 5, 2007 for
the purpose of reprogramming federal CDBG funds as noted below. The
public hearing will be held at the Lyon Township Hall, 58000 Grand River
Avenue, New Hudson, Michigan, 48165.
The Board of Trustees will consider any public comments regarding
reprogramming CDBG funds as follows:
Existing (FROM): Program Year 2007, Account #731619, Removal of
Architectural Barriers, in amount of $10,542.00.
Proposed (TO): Program Year 2007, Account #731227, Minor Home
Repair, in amount of $10,542.00.
Written comments may be submitted prior to the meeting to the
Township Clerk at the address noted above. Contact the Clerk's office at
(248) 437-2240 for further information or special services.
(11-1-07 SLH 385476)