Kirby and Kate Winfield speak to the rotarians about their family. Kate has Down Syndrome and autism and it has changed Kirby’s life, he said. Ryan Murray/staff photo

All in for Autism preps race to help families dealing with autism

Nicole Gooldy was overjoyed.

What new mother wouldn’t be? When her Jack Henry was born, he was the cutest baby in the world in her eyes.

It was several months later when she realized he was missing some developmental checkpoints and began to worry.

“He made inconsistent eye contact and was flapping his hands,” Gooldy said. “I just thought he was the happiest baby, I posted videos of him on the swing flapping his hands. I wonder how many people knew and we were just ignorant.”

Jack Henry had a speech delay and had some issues responding to his own name. Nicole went to Bellevue-based nonprofit Kindering.

“We did a pretty rigorous speech delay check . It was almost two hours,” she said. “At the end, they handed me a checklist of “signs of autism.” Almost every box was checked.”

She cried in her car. Jack Henry was diagnosed with autism at 22 months old.

Although now, she realizes his diagnosis is who makes him who he is, at the time it was devastating. Gooldy is now a major advocate for early screening.

Kindering, along with the Special Olympics Washington and other organizations will receive funding from the All in for Autism 5K/10K Run/Walk to be held on April 23 in Downtown Bellevue.

This year’s iteration will be the 11th time the race has been held in Bellevue, and organizers expect more than 2,500 participants to help benefit autism-related causes.

“Mr. Sounder” Zach Scott spoke at the same Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club meeting as Gooldy, and mentioned his sister’s own struggles with a child with autism.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. It can be extremely challenging for the child and the parents, family members, teachers and others to communicate.

In 2014, about one in 68 children born in the United States would fall somewhere on the autism spectrum according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At nearly four, Jack Henry’s life hasn’t ended. He’s a happy boy who loves trains, cars and Star Wars. He attends a developmental preschool where he is learning to socialize with others.

Kirby Winfield was led to the podium by precocious daughter Kate, who has Down Syndrome and autism.

A start-up entrepreneur, Kirby admits he was pretty self-involved before Kate came into his life.

”I wouldn’t have understood the point of doing something like this,” he said.

But things have changed for the Winfield family. Kirby said his time with family and the community has grown, and his understanding of differently-abled children and their families has flowered. He said he can’t do things the same way another parent might, and he has learned to be more patient.

Bellevue Mayor John Stokes read a proclamation from the city, declaring April to be Autism Awareness Month, and that people of all abilities were welcomed to thrive in Bellevue, which is trying to become a more understanding city.

The All in for Autism run starts at Bellevue Downtown Park. The 10-kilometer course will run along Interstate 405 on Lake Washington Boulevard Southeast, head over I-90 and back up Bellevue Way to the park, where it will finish.

Check-in begins at 6:45 and the first race starts at 8 a.m. Get more information at allinforautism.org.

“Mr. Sounder” Zach Scott speaks at the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club about his own family’s experience with autism. Ryan Murray/staff photo

More in News

City council position 3 candidates talk affordability and growth

The Bellevue Reporter reached out to council candidates to share who they are and what they value.

King County Correctional Facility is located at 500 5th Ave., Seattle. File photo
King County jail’s leaky pipes have national implications

Lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court alleges Aquatherm has been selling faulty pipes.

Council candidates for Position 1 speak to level of service, growth, and homelessness

The candidates are incumbent John Stokes, Holly Zhang and Martin Acevedo.

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

Bellevue PD: 153 firework reports made on temporary heat map tool

Improvements to be made, tool expected to return next year

Islamic Center Approved to Rebuild on Damaged Building’s Footprint

After being hit by two arsons since 2017, the Islamic Center of Eastside is on its way to a rebuild

From left, JD Yu, Janice Zahn, Mark Wilson
City Council candidate profiles, Pos. 5

Mark Wilson, incumbent Janice Zahn, and JD Yu.

From left, candidate Margie Ye, Jennifer Robertson and James Bible. Courtesy photos
City Council candidate profiles, Pos. 7

James Bible, incumbent Jennifer Robertson, and Margie Ye.

Most Read