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Boy With Autism Raises Awareness For Condition

ROME TOWNSHIP — April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day.

Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain that can affect, among other things, a child’s ability to interact with others and communicate.

Tuesday night a boy in Bradford County who is autistic did his part to teach others.

It`s a dance party for youngsters in a neighborhood near Wysox. The party was thrown by 6-year-old Liam Barnum specifically for World Autism Awareness Day because Liam is himself autistic.

“Autism is my superpower!” yelled Liam. “Because it`s awesome!”

“Sometimes he has a hard time fitting in with other kids and he said mommy I want the kids to know about my autism so we started talking about light it up blue and he said ‘mom, let`s have a party,’ I said’ okay, then we`ll do it on the 2nd,’” said Liam’s mother, Courtney Barnum.

With blue representing the color for autism awareness, Liam`s mom decked out the party with blue ribbons, blue paint, blue cupcakes and juice. And Liam`s friends got colorful as well, painting their faces blue.

“He is a really good friend,” said Nick Jelitko. “It`s really cool, we do fun stuff together, it`s really fun.”

Liam`s mom says he was diagnosed two years ago. Since then she worked to educate herself and other in order to make life easier for her son.

“To keep him from getting teased because they sometimes stand out when they`re stemming or flapping and other kids don`t understand what`s going on, sometimes it scares them and they get made fun of,” said Courtney.

“Because you want to be nice and not mean and pick on him,” said Andrew Vanderpool.

Eric Bryden, a family friend, says he knows exactly what Liam is dealing with; he has autism as well.

“I`ve been living with it for 46 years and one of the things I live with every day is not realizing what people think about me and not realizing people`s body language,” said Bryden.

“It hit me that maybe he was chosen for a reason and ever since then we`ve tried to embrace his autism, we have hard days, days where we hate autism,” said Courtney.

“I like to raise my autism,” said Liam.

This Friday, Towanda is holding its first Friday event with vendors setting up booths around the county courthouse.

Liam and his family say they will have a booth handing out information on autism.

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