My name is Dave Kuhnle, owner and operator of Nepean Electric since 1981. I work with my two sons, Kevin and Steven. I am also proud to say that I am the founder of the Motorcycle Ride for Autism, Ottawa.
In January 2013 Kevin's first daughter, Josie (a sweet little angel) was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) at 2.5 years old. Just two months later Kevin's younger daughter, Sofia (another adorable little angel) was also diagnosed with ASD. She was just 14 months old.
For me this was devastating. I can only imagine how Kevin and Kim (Kevin's wife) felt. Kevin and Kim (an incredible lady, if don't believe me, just read her blog Rubber Duckies and Spoons) had suspicions about Josie for quite a while. I kept telling them that every child develops differently and at their own pace, and not to worry. Fortunately, they didn't listen to me, and started looking for help as early as May 2012. They went through different government hoops trying to get the help they felt Josie needed (early intervention.) They were jumped around between two different districts, nobody knowing which one they belonged to. Eventually a decision was made, their application was to be backdated, which it never was. In frustration, they turned to Emerging Minds in Ottawa, who provided prompt service and diagnosis.
I know the time, effort and dedication it takes just being a parent. Being a parent of two kids with ASD blows me away. My son Kevin and daughter-in-law Kim are my heroes.
While at work, I received a call from Senator, The Honourable Jim Munson and his wife Mrs. Ginette Munson, whom I've been doing work for since the ice storm. This was in September 2012. Somehow during conversations with Ginette about the work they needed, she mentioned that Jim was working on a National Autism Strategy in the Senate. I mentioned that two my grandchildren might be autistic, and we talked about the frustrations Kevin and Kim were having getting in and out of the wrong wait-lists. Both Jim and Ginette helped by pointing us in the correct directions, and I'm sure made several phone calls telling people we would be calling. I cannot express enough how helpful and genuinely concerned they were, how much their moral support meant to us all.
One of the people they directed us to was Suzanne Jacobson.
Suzanne and her husband Dave founded the QuickStart - Early Intervention for Autism. They also have two grandchildren with ASD. They too had trouble navigating through the bureaucratic maze. They helped their grandchildren by arranging for private help, which is very expensive and very unavailable to most people. They realized how fortunate they were being able to afford this, and felt it shouldn't just be available to only people in a position to afford it. Their QuickStart programs help with this and also provide respite for the parents. It is a very worthwhile cause.
I do the Ride for Dad, a fundraiser for prostate cancer, every year and have raised quite a bit of money for them. I thought I'd also do the Ride for Autism. I found out that it didn't exist, so I decided to start one. Hopefully with this, the 1st annual ride, we can raise a bit of money to help such a worthwhile cause. I hope it will continue and grow, so that it can help many children and their families.
Our mission, and our slogan, is "No Child Left Behind." Early intervention is key, please help and support us in our goal