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PACS Student Plans Fundraiser to Build a Life Skills Room for Students with Autism


Pulaski Academy & Central School District senior Elaina Derr knows an autism diagnosis isn’t something that defines a person but, instead, can make them stronger and more independent by having to tackle mental obstacles others may never realize.


The PACS senior, whose younger brother is autistic and attends the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation’s A+ program for children with autism and autistic-like tendencies in the city of Fulton, is planning a 5K run/walk called “Every Piece Counts” to raise money for a life skills room in her brother’s building as part of her senior project.


Students will use the room, which would resemble an apartment, to learn basic life skills such as doing laundry, making a bed, washing dishes and performing general cleaning.


“People tend to think that kids with autism are pretty helpless and I want people to realize they’re not,” Derr said. “Just because they can’t always do the things we’re able to or communicate in the same way doesn’t make them any different than us.”


Every Piece Counts will be held rain or shine, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 17, on the track at PACS Middle-High School, 4624 Salina St., Pulaski. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children aged six and older.


The event will feature a 5k run/walk beginning at noon, bake sale, corn hole, bucket pong, ring toss and silent auction with items and gift certificates donated from local businesses including Stefano’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Kinney Drugs, Dunkin’, Tops Friendly Markets, A Cut Above, A Better Cut-N-Style, and Hemlock Haven.