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Shining Star: Jason Polgar

Shining Star: Jason Polgar

A Follansbee teen is making it his mission to help other families who have a child with autism.

Jason Polgar shares things he's learned as a sibling to an autistic little brother, Ryan.

He also puts iPads with a special app in the hands of kids that need help communicating. His motivators are his faith and his family.

The road for Ryan is bumpy at times. The 12-year-old is autistic, formally diagnosed at 18 months old.

But each year, he improves, and Jason sees it.

“Spending more time with him throughout the summer, I've seen how much he's improved from last summer. He's improved so much in his verbal skills, his understanding of other people talking, just great seeing him improve so much.”

The progress, came in part from using an iPad to help him communicate.

“Now he can just speak in multi-word sentences, he can ask questions, he's singing songs.

Because of that, Jason, now 14-years-old, created an organization, called Ryan's Prayer for Hope and Healing to see to it that other autistic children get access to iPads.

And for the families, you have to be patient.

“It's a learning experience, as is everything in life,” Jason said.

Earlier this summer, Jason hosted his organization's second annual Walk for the Cause.

“It was great to meet new people and give them more knowledge of my organization,” he said.

At the event, Jason's efforts were acknowledged with a letter of recognition from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

It’s recognition for rallying families, like his own, dealing with the same disorder.

“When you have a child with autism in your family, you have to learn it's not always going to be perfect.”

Jason is a typical teen. He takes karate, recently won the Brooke County Spelling Bee, and excels in school. But what's more is his drive to make a difference.

“It’s difficult balancing all of it, but there's still time for me to live my life,” he said. “It's just become part of it. It’s not like having a brother with autism is taking away from your life, it just becomes part of it.”

This week’s Shining Star is sharing his experiences to help others and staying inspired by his beliefs and his brother.

“We all have the same basic desires,” Jason said. “We all want to be loved and we all want to give love ourselves.”

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