“Zohar the Au-Star” Is Helping To Shine A Light On Autism
Flo Rida’s son may still only be a toddler, but his story is already making a difference in the lives of others.
The nearly three-year-old Zohar Paxton has started his own fundraising initiative to raise money – and awareness – of autism. The boy, nicknamed “Zohar the Au Star,” has partnered with New York University’s Hassenfeld’s Children’s Hospital to raise $10,000 – all of which will go towards funding autism research.
Zohar’s mother, Alexis Adams, said she hopes that by sharing her son’s story, more families will get their kids screened earlier and have greater access to treatments and other services. One in 59 children is now diagnosed with the spectrum disorder, according to NYU. And although the average age of diagnosis is four years old, doctors can spot symptoms as early as age two.
“At the end of the day, he has a platform and he is rich in resources because of who he is,” Adams told us, adding, “ I wanted to help raise awareness because this is something that’s not visual.”
The boy was born with health problems, including hydrocephalus – or water on the brain – and had to endure several surgeries as part of his recovery. However, even after his surgeries, Adams said she noticed her son was still struggling with his development, and doctors later diagnosed him as being on the autism spectrum.
Today, Adams said Zohar is thriving: He attends weekly occupational and speech therapy as well as life skills training and has excelled in swimming and art. He also cinched a modeling contract with Zebedee model management in the U.K.
“We call him Michael Phelps,” Adams said. “He processes things through art as well, and music. He learns that way.”
Adams urged other parents to have their children evaluated if they believe something is wrong because early diagnosis and intervention can be crucial in helping an autistic child have a better quality of life.
“There are opportunities for kids with disabilities to have a normal life,” Adams said. “Don’t wait to get a referral…there’s help out there.”