PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tuesday, April 2, is World Autism Day. It’s a day of support for those whose loved ones lack the ability to communicate, or process thoughts, in a normal manner – family members with autism.

Excela Health in Norwin is sponsoring the “Laurel Highlands Walk for Autism Speaks” at Idlewild Park, on May 19.

Walk co-chair Dr. Rebecca Quel understands a condition that hits very close to home. She and husband Dave Quel play patiently with five-year-old Steven, one of three sons with autism.

“We’re usually all up at six,” says Dr. Quel. “Our children don’t really believe in sleeping in very much. Our two oldest go to school, so it’s the morning routine get them to school. They get the bus about eight o’clock, and then I come to the office.”

Her husband is a therapist who visits homes of children with mental health issues, relying heavily on his own home experience.

“With their own individual personalities, we can see us in them,” Dave Quel says. “So at times, she relates better to one of the boys than I do, and vice versa.”

Dr. Quel says she can’t help wondering what’s going on inside each of her sons.

“It’s just they understand everything, but can’t really communicate,” she says. “So you want to know what they’re thinking, and what they’re feeling, but you can’t get that. And that can be very frustrating at times.” Nevertheless, she says, “It doesn’t matter if they have autism or not. They’re my boys.”

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