Teaching others about autism

Teaching others about autism

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This Family of the Year nominee is partly familiar to some of our viewers.

Tametria Dantzler was a reporter and anchor at WSFA 12 News, but she ended up leaving to spend more time with her family, especially her son.

Playtime at the Dantzler house is precious. It's both fun and therapeutic, especially for 4-year-old Conner who's been diagnosed with autism.

"I'm a communicator. So, to have a child who could not communicate with me in a normal fashion was heartbreaking," Tametria said.

Tametria and her husband, Andy, noticed something was different about their son when he was about a year and a half old. They scheduled tests to learn more, but they say doctor visits revealed few answers.

"Doctors would say 'he's a boy, give him time.' I said 'no, something is really wrong,'" Tametria said.

"I was very glad to have a wife who is a go-getter like she is to get understanding about the procedures," Andy said.

Tametria,  a former TV reporter, started conducting her own investigation. She requested medical records, saw specialists and wrote letters to state leaders.  The result was tools and information to help Conner adapt to the world around him.

"Not looking at it as 'oh my god' all the things that he's not going to be able to do, but figuring out OK how can I make the best out of this situation and come together as a team to ultimately benefit Conner," Tametria explained.

Tametria is now an advocate for those with autism. She speaks to families across the country as a parent representative for the Alabama Early Intervention Interagency Coordinating Council, and she encourages them to know their rights and prepare for the future.

The Dantzler family has also volunteered with studies at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta.

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