News Article Details

Family to address life with autism disorder at MSSU lecture

Joplin Globe - 3/9/2019

March 09-- Mar. 9--Derek Volk and Dylan Volk will present "Chasing the Rabbit: A Father's and Son's Journey Living with Autism" at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Webster Hall'sCorley Auditorium at Missouri Southern State University.

The session will highlight the Volk family's challenges and triumphs following Dylan's diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome at 8 years old. Their appearance is sponsored by the Northeast Oklahoma Tribal Child Care Development Fund programs and Missouri Southern's Lion Cub Academy.

"I think it's going to be useful to everyone in the community -- for teachers, for family, for friends of family -- to get a better understanding of how autism affects everyone," said Nikki Tappana, director of the Lion Cub Academy, in an interview with the Globe. "I think the story that Derek and Dylan will share will show how there's life beyond being diagnosed with autism."

Derek Volk is the author of "Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad's Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum," which his son co-authored. He is the president and co-owner of Volk Packaging Corp. in Biddeford, Maine, and is a supporter of autism awareness. He will address the many challenges of parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

Dylan Volk graduated from Scarborough (Maine) High School in 2010 and lives in Austin, Texas, where he has produced a series of satirical videos for his YouTube channel, Dielawn Comedy. He will share how he transitioned into the "real world" as a young adult and pursued his dream career in comedy.

The title of the Volks' book comes from a metaphor the father uses to describe the life of his son, the elder Volk told the University of Maine before a speech there last April.

"I always compared Dylan to a greyhound chasing the rabbit around the dog track," he said, according to the university. "The rabbit represents normal. He'll do anything to catch the rabbit, he'll exhaust himself, but it is always just out of reach."

About 1 in 59 children in the U.S. has been identified with autism spectrum disorder, according to estimates from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism spectrum disorder is reported in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, and it is about four times more common among boys than among girls.

Admission to the Volks' lecture is free and open to the public.

Free book

The first 300 people in attendance will receive a free copy of "Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad's Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum."


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