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Uxbridge native to run marathon as Flutie Foundation representative.

Uxbridge High School graduate, former Westboro teacher, and Bridgewater State University graduate student Alison L'Heureux will combine her passions for running and helping children with autism when she races in the Boston Marathon in April as a representative of the Doug Flutie Foundation for Autism. The Uxbridge native is one of 15 people selected nationwide to represent the organization, and is expected to collect $5,000 for the cause. To raise money, she's started a drive to collect recyclable cans and bottles for deposit. Combining that with other efforts, she has raised more than $2,000 in a few months.

The marathon is Ms. L'Heureux's latest step in her drive to improve autism education. She brought the idea for using iPads to teach students with autism to the Annie E. Fales Elementary School in Westboro, and is seeking to do the same at BSU. Additionally, she provides home care and is currently working with an 11-year-old child with autism in Rhode Island.

While attending Uxbridge High School, Ms. L'Heureux participated in a program where half the day was spent in a kindergarten classroom in which a few students had learning disabilities.

She completed her student teaching at Johnson Early Childhood Center in Weymouth, where she worked primarily with preschool students diagnosed with autism - many of whom were nonverbal. Throughout the years, her fascination has grown in the field, since each student with autism is so unique.

Ms. L'Heureux uses the iPad through use of the Proloquo2Go application. The students expressively communicate through pictures, and teachers use it to enhance receptive language for students. Students with autism are highly visual learners, and the need for a device that allows the owner to take pictures and quickly import them is crucial. Through this innovative technology, communication barriers are coming down and many doors are being opened.

To donate cans and bottles to Ms. L'Heureux, email cans4autism@yahoo.com. To make a monetary donation, visit www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/alison825.

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CUTLINE: Alison L'Heureux has raised more than $2,000 for the Doug Flutie Foundation for Autism through a bottle and can drive.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 17, 2012
Words:354
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