PHILADELPHIA – When you’re raising a child with autism, many parents say it takes more than a village. Well, there’s one father who set out to make that journey as safe and fun as possible for children and their parents.
Kirby Wurts is a fun-loving 13-year-old with autism. His parents love him, but sometimes they struggle to keep Kirby occupied all day.
Jana Wurts, Kirby’s mother, told Ivanhoe, “They’re fantastic kids, they’re smart kids, they’re loving kids and they’re sweet kids, and we just need to support them.”
Jana and Topher Wurts spent years trying to help others navigate a world that often doesn’t understand autism, and leaves parents with so many questions.
Topher explained, “Where can I go when I leave the house? Where can we go for a family dinner out? How am I going to find a barber that will be able to cut my kid’s hair? What playground is safe to go to?”
Those answers and more can now be found in an app Topher created. It’s called “Autism Village” and it works like Yelp, where anyone can review a business to see if it’s autism friendly.
“All the families will be able to share the good and the bad for others to find and discover,” Topher said.
The app is free but it’s priceless for families coping with autism, and for businesses whose workers can get special training to earn a seal of approval.
Topher told Ivanhoe, “It’s really rewarding when you can do something in life that’s going to make a big impact for so many people.”
It’s a small app with gigantic potential to help families caring for autistic children.
“Autism Village” raised $75,000 in 42 days for the app. Topher says it’s the largest crowdfunding ever done for autism.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Ellen Kolodziej, Field Producer; Cortni Spearman, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher, Editor; and Norm Stone, Videographer.