Autism Speaks Comedy Night Friday in Lynn

LYNN – When Mindy Murray heard the diagnosis that her son Keith was autistic she said she sat down and cried. The tears weren’t so much because he was autistic, she said, but because she didn’t know what it meant for his future.”They gave me very limited information and kind of said ?good luck,'” she said. “I came home and cried.”Her mother, Anne Dow, snapped her out of it.”She said ?He’s the same little boy, nothing’s changed, we’ll deal with it,'” Murray said.And they have. Murray said she is has dealt with the diagnosis by learning all she can about the disorder, which she admits isn’t much, and by raising money for research. Murray and her family will host a Walk for Autism Benefit Night of Comedy Friday from 7-11 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 177 Lynnfield St. Tickets are $25 and should be made out to Autism Speaks, organization dedicated to increasing awareness, research, advocacy and family services for anyone who struggles with autism spectrum disorders.Keith was 2when he was diagnosed, Murray said.”t was the day after I brought home his little brother,” she said.He is low on the autism spectrum, Murray said. “Pervasive development disorder” is what they call it,” Murray said. “They can’t pinpoint that anywhere on the spectrum.”For the first year or so, Murray said Keith was fine but then she noticed he was not hitting the same milestones other children his age were.Murray had two other friends and they all gave birth only months apart.”They told us not to compare the kids but it’s hard not to,” she said.Keith didn’t crawl until he was 13-months-old and when he did he bear-crawled,” Murray said.Richard Dow, Keith’s step-grandfather, said everything changed when Keith went to school. Once intergrated in a pre-school class at the Shoemaker School, Murray said Keith blossomed to the chatty affectionate 6-year-old he is today, one who loves trains and is a little obsessed with a clock that chimes on the hour.Anne Dow said if anything, Keith sometimes talks too much but no one, she said, ever says stop.”You don’t want to because you’re afraid,” she said. “You never know if he might not speak again.”It’s that kind of uncertainty that Keith’s family lives with and it is why they work to raise funds for research.”Our community has been so generous,” Murray said.Dow, who works at General Electric in Lynn, said his colleagues in Building 66 have also gone above and beyond in helping the family out.”It’s very encouraging,” he said. “It keeps us going.””We’re just hoping to make people more aware,” Murray added.Carl Phillips will host the Night of Comedy, which will feature Larry Lee Lewis and local comedians Jerry Caruso, Jean Sullivan Toomy and special guest, Lynn’s own Dan Gill. Money raised will go toward the fall event “Walk Now for Autism Speaks.”If You Go?For advanced tickets, $25, to the Walk for Autism Benefit Night of Comedy Friday from 7-11 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, call Anne Dow at 781-596-0643 or Murray at 781-598-1211.

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