Northborough – Northborough resident Ken Roberts was one of three fathers recently honored by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families affected by autism live life to the fullest. The fathers were recognized for creating an active lifestyle for their children on the spectrum. The recognition is part of the foundation’s Autism on the Go initiative, which addresses the importance of an active lifestyle by funding recreation, sports and music programs for families affected by autism.
Roberts always loved skiing, but since the birth of sons Andrew, 12, and Ryan, 10, who both live their life on the spectrum, the thought of enjoying this sport as a family never occurred to him or his wife, Debra. Both of the boys have low muscle tone and struggle with many physical benchmarks. So when the opportunity to partake in the Waterville Valley Adaptive Ski Weekend happened in March, he was dubious. But, after eight hours of working with the specially trained instructors, the Roberts family was skiing down a green slope together, not just once, but six times!
“That day was life changing,” Roberts said. “We never thought something like this would have been possible.”
The Autism on the Go initiative was established in response to research showing that people with autism have a 7-percent higher rate of obesity than the general population. The program honors Doug Flutie’s parents, Joan and Dick, who were passionate about instilling a love of recreation and physical activity in their children. Both passed away within an hour of one another last November.
“Whether it was sports or other activities, my Dad was there to help us be on the go,” said Doug Flutie, founder of the foundation. “Through the Autism on the Go campaign, we want to celebrate this commitment to keeping kids active and also make it easier for families with kids on the spectrum to find and fund recreation programs. We are proud to recognize these three dads who are making recreation a priority for their kids.”
For more information on The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, visit www.flutiefoundation.org.