WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Helping to connect and promote awareness for autism in the North Country, a local mom is sharing her journey online.
Alicia Kiechle is local to the Watertown area and is the mother to four-year-old Kyle who was diagnosed with Autism when he was two-years-old.
Following his diagnosis, Kiechle started to seek support from others who had family members with autism.
“When we first got the diagnosis for Kyle, I didn’t know anyone else that was going through the same thing that we were going through,” shared Kiechle. “So I started searching for other autism parents like myself and came across a couple autism blogs. And these blogs just saved my life. They gave me hope for Kyle for the future.
From there, Kiechle was inspired to start “Be Kind for Kyle,” which officially began in October of 2020, and now is a Facebook page that connects members as nearby as Watertown and as far away as Ireland.
With the page now nearing two thousand members, she shared how she hopes her experiences will help others, like how she found support early in her family’s journey.
“I’ve had a few moms reach out to me asking me questions about how I do certain things with Kyle,” shared Kiechle. “Kyle is non-verbal, so we have a speech device and I’ve had a few parents reach out to me about how I went about getting a speech device, how am I implementing it. They have sent me some great messages about how I’ve given them hope for the future and in return they’ve helped me too.”
And Be Kind for Kyle is not the only way Kiechle is helping to support children with Autism. As a reading specialist in the General Brown Central School District, she has taken on the role as the school’s Autism Advocate, hoping to help further children in the community. In this role she attends all Children with Autism IEP meetings and helps to address needs throughout the school day.
Kiechle has also been published on well-known blogs dedicated to autism awareness such as Finding Coopers Voices, Cody Speaks, Her View from Home and Love What Matters.
Additionally during Autism awareness month, Be Kind for Kyle also recently helped to support Faith Riding Center, based in Watertown, New York. The Center provides horse therapy to children with autism, and through t-shirt sales, Be Kind for Kyle raised $2,000.
And although the page will continue to connect members like Alicia and her family, she emphasized what the main goal for “Be Kind for Kyle” is moving forward.
“My goal for Be Kind for Kyle is to continue to grow, to help spread autism awareness and accept acceptance,” stated Keichle. “I just wanted to help educate people who may not have someone in their family with autism.
Ending with, “If you could be anything in this world, choose to be kind, and to always be kind for Kyle and kids like Kyle.”