Teen organizes road race, raises almost $1k for Autism SpeaksBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent May 15. 2017 8:34PM
SOMERSWORTH — A 17-year-old student from Somersworth raised $985 for the New England Chapter of Autism Speaks by pulling together a road race which was held Saturday.
Alyssa McGlauflin said she has always been interested in working with special needs children, and plans to become an autism spectrum disorder specialist after college. McGlauflin said she wanted to plan a race last year, but was stricken by acute promyelocytic leukemia, and had to undergo treatment.
McGlauflin said she is now cancer-free. She worked with Terrill Covey of the Strafford Learning Center and individuals from Granite State Race Services in Newport to organize and promote the race, which started and ended at Somersworth High School Saturday morning.
McGlauflin said there were 49 participants for Teddy’s Run, which was named after 10-year-old boy she worked with as part of her internship at the HOPE Program in Gonic. McGlauflin met the boy at Next Level Church in Somersworth, and the two have formed a special bond over the course of the last two years.
McGlauflin said the boy lost most of his ability to talk starting at the age of 3. She works with him using sign language and vocalization skills.
“She can communicate with him on a different level. She does very well with kids,” McGlauflin’s mother, Amie, said Monday afternoon. “I’m very proud of her.”
Amie McGlauflin said Alyssa also works at their church with three other children on the autism spectrum.
Covey said Alyssa McGlauflin has earned two school credits, one in early childhood education, the other in English, for the work she had to do to make the run a success.
Covey said he helped guide McGlauflin when needed, but she performed much of the work on her own, which wasn’t always easy, especially since she had to get used to making cold calls.
“You can’t help but admire all the work she has put in, especially from my perspective, having a front-row seat,” Covey said Monday.
For more information about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org.