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Autism Awareness Month: Family shares tips on Facebook page

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-02 20:50:53-04

Landmarks and buildings across the globe will "turn blue" at dusk Sunday night as part of World Autism Awareness Day.

The goal for the Light It Up Blue Campaign is to raise awareness for the more than 70 million people who live with autism around the world.

Six On Your Side sat down with a Treasure Valley family who's started a campaign of their own to spread autism awareness.

Laughter sometimes can be the best medicine. At least that's the philosophy in the Jetsel household.

Two of Kyle and Shelly Jetsel's sons are on the autism spectrum. Getting the diagnosis years ago was a relief, at first. However, it didn't make it any easier for them when they realized there weren't many resources out there for parents struggling to understand the disability.

"He was always frustrated and angry, he couldn't communicate," Kyle Jetsel said. "He was kicking holes in walls and smashing things."

Deciding they wouldn't let the challenge get them down, they started having weekly meetings where they identified what was working and where they needed to improve. It brought them closer together.

As autism becomes more prevalent, they've noticed a switch in some people's mindset.

"I think in the schools they have more training and for the teachers that help them out a lot more," Shelly Jetsel said.

Kyle and his oldest son co-authored a book.

In addition, it was about a year ago the father started a Facebook page called Autism Laughter Therapy. He posts videos with tips for families that are new to the disability.

Their mission is to educate the public with the hope they might not pass judgment when a public meltdown is in progress. But, mainly they want to help other parents out who can relate.

"It's so exciting to think there are other families out there experiencing the same kind of joy and happiness that we are," Kyle Jetsel concluded. "And, if we can just be a tiny part of that... that's all we're really asking for."

April is National Autism Awareness month.

For a link to the Jetsel family's Facebook page, click here https://www.facebook.com/AutismLaughterTherapy/.

The Jetsel family members include Alec, 22, Zak, 21, Erik, 17, Ricky, 15, and Jack and Chloe, 9.