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Finding his stride at 14

Teen spreads positive message

Dylan Krause (center) raises money for the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin through his efforts with Dylan's Run/Walk.

Dylan Krause (center) raises money for the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin through his efforts with Dylan's Run/Walk. Photo By Sandy Krause

Oct. 12, 2011

When Aaron Krause got involved with Dylan's Run/Walk, he expected to help other people.

And he has.

Over the last six years, the 14-year-old Boy Scout has helped raise more than $8,000 as a team captain for the annual event, which benefits the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin.

But, his mom said, the fundraiser also has helped Aaron.

"Dylan's is a time when he is literally backed up by his supporters. It's his chance to be a leader within this understanding audience," Sandy Krause said.

Aaron has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism that affects communication and social skills.

What does that mean for Aaron?

"He has no social filters and tends to just say whatever comes to mind," Krause explained.

Like during a meeting at the autism society, where a group gathered to discuss gluten-free diets.

"Aaron chimed in, 'Gluten sounds like gluteus maximus, like butt, so they should call it "The Butt Diet,' " Sandy said. "The group loved it. Of course, in this group no apology needed; they appreciated his humor."

But the support Aaron has found by getting involved with Dylan's Run/Walk goes far beyond finding a group of people who like his jokes.

"The autism society provided a support structure to get through the challenging times. Our faith, our church was always there for us, too," Sandy said.

This year, Aaron's congregation not only helped him raise $1,220 for the walk, but they also canceled Sunday services so they could walk by his side at the Sept. 11 event.

"Divine Word/Pentecost Church ROCKS!" Dylan wrote in a recent email; he communicates better with strangers by typing than speaking, his mom explained. "I counted 23 people who walked with out team. … At least five people volunteered that day instead of walking."

Dylan is excited to continue his work with the Autism Society.

"My involvement is a good example for others of how far someone with Aspergers/autism can go," wrote Aaron, who attends Kradwell School. "We can do really good stuff. We have potential. … I want people to know that autism isn't a bad thing; we think different, but sometimes that's good."

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