Parents to host autism conference in honor of son who died from flu two years ago

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Little Rock family is starting an autism conference in central Arkansas to help kids like their son who died two years ago.

8-year-old Tyler Dannaway was an autistic child. He died on Jan. 16, 2018 due to complications from the flu.

“This year is a lot harder than the last year for some reason,” Teresa Dannaway said.

His parents, Teresa and Steve, still have his toys exactly where he left them. 

“There’s cups that he drank out of the weekend before he died that are still in the same spots,” Steve said.

But even though Tyler is gone, the Dannaways are doing all they can to keep his spirit alive.

“We’re trying to help everybody from the experiences that we’ve had…basically because we know Tyler would want that,” Steve said.

Teresa is planning an autism conference in Benton this spring called AUSUM. It’ll be the first autism conference in central Arkansas in several years.

“She’s done a lot of hard work to get this thing there,” Steve said.

The conference is geared toward parents and caregivers. It will focus on topics like proper nutrition and education.

“We found out that there are people out there that don’t understand a lot of the really important things that families need to know about,” Steve said. “You need to understand what resources are available. If you have a school that’s not enforcing its IEP… that there are people who will come out and help you.”

Tyler was all about educating others, which is what motivated the Dannaways to continue to carry on his tradition.

“If it’s successful we’ll plan one for next year,” Teresa said.

AUSUM  will take place on May 16 at the Benton Event Center. Head to AUSUM2020.com for sign up info.

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