The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Autism walk to benefit school facility


April 11, 2019

Hoping to raise funds to build a sensory room and sensory pathway for children with autism and special needs at Wahkiakum School District, organizers are inviting the public to join them at the first Wahkiakum Autism Walk, scheduled for this Saturday, April 13.

Paul and Sarah Lawrence are the parents of Thomas, who at eight and a half years of age, remains non-verbal. The two were brainstorming on the couch one evening about how to take advantage of April being Autism Awareness Month when they came up with the idea for the walk.

Paul works at Wahkiakum School District and has been collaborating with students in the design of a sensory room and sensory pathways that they hope will one day be used by youngsters at J.A. Wendt Elementary.

“Sensory rooms provide a safe space for children with special needs to go to calm or stimulate their senses,” wrote Sarah Lawrence on the Wahkiakum Autism Walk gofundme page. “Indoor sensory pathways for autsim, ADHD and ADD students help to increase cognitive functioning and reduce sensory seeking behaviors.”

Junior Novella Hokkanen has been working on an interactive space that would allow students to take a break while remaining active. Junior Madeira Wynn has been dreaming up plans for a garden and space with an outdoor theme that would allow kids to hop from lily pads to logs or flowers. Senior Kayleigh Nakonsky has been focusing on developing breathing techniques using a figure eight that will help students calm down when they are angry.

A 5K and 1K walk begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Wahkiakum High School track. Registration forms are available at both school offices or may be requested by emailing

Donations are being accepted at the WAW gofundme page, and checks can be written to ASB/WAW (Associated Student Body/Wahkiakum Autism Walk) and sent to J.A. Wendt Elementary at 265 S. 3rd Street, Cathlamet 98612.


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