Autism Alliance flies kites for a cause in Framingham

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Bill Shaner
MetroWest Daily News
April 29, 2017

The display was a colorful one atop the Bose Mountain Saturday.

Dozens of kites – NASA kites with red streamers, green alien kites, a turtle kite, a shark kite, a hawk kite and, briefly, a real hawk – streamed in the warm, steady breeze in benefit of the MetroWest Autism Alliance.

Saturday was the 16th annual iteration of the Autism Alliance Kite Day, which serves to help fundraise for the organization, but also provide children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and their families a safe and comfortable afternoon of outside fun.

As the event just got underway, several dozen families were already in the parking lot, as were firefighters, police officers and members of other advocacy groups. Along with the kites, there were single-person trampolines, bongos and a miniature train that carried kids around the parking lot in brightly-colored cars.

Michael Daigle and his son Justin few a NASA spaceship kite near the Bose headquarters building. They’ve been coming to the event all 16 years.

“This is a family event for us for many years. My sisters would all come down. We’d be about half the population out here,” he said.

He intended to continue, but his kite string neared another. He dashed around the other string to avoid a crash.

Daigle’s wife, Allison, is a co-director of the Autism Alliance.

“It started with the concept of community. And flying kites just seemed like a fun thing that everyone could do,” she said. It grew from there, at one point actually getting so big as to cause sensory issues for some of the children, so organizers have scaled it back.

“It used to be a much larger event,” said Pam McKillop, co-director. “We brought it down. We wanted to make it a more sensory-friendly event for individuals and families.”

Still, organizers expected about 250 people to turn out, at least.

One of those people was Kara Zabatta of Framingham, who’s two-year-old son, Logan, was recently diagnosed with autism

“We came here in hopes to see some other kids and play,” she said. It’s her first year at the event, and she said she hopes to get more connected with Autism Alliance.

Veronia Martzahl and her son Thomas have been coming out for a few years. The Autism Alliance, she said, is a big help for her family.

“It’s really such a wonderful resource,” she said. “It really gives us a chance to get out and not be so isolated.”