KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 12, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy mom Sabrina Klempel has hit the road to raise awareness for autism. Her car, decorated with assorted, colorful puzzle pieces makes her autistic five-year-old son smile and laugh.
Have you seen the Klempel's car around Katy? Photo Credit: Sabrina Klempel
A Car with a Message
Sabrina and Micah Klempel have three kids: William (8) Winter (5) and Sophia (4). Yet lately their car seems to be getting the most attention.
Sabrina Klempel liked the Autism Awareness puzzle sticker on her friend's car and decided to put one on her SUV for her car-loving, autistic son, Winter. The concept of using puzzle pieces in connection with autism was introduced more than 50 years ago. The various shapes and colors are said to represent the diversity of the people and families living with autism.
"Winter loves cars, and when I told him we were putting stickers on my car he said, 'Oh mommy that’s amazing,' which just melted my heart even more," explains Sabrina Klempel. His smile lead to a car covered with stickers.
Winter was born on December 26. The Klempels already had William and wanted their second son's name to share the same first letter.
"I loved the name," says Sabrina Klempel.
"I started noticing signs that he was delayed when he was around two," says Sabrina Klempel. "My friend's son was talking and (Winter) was just making sounds." She took Winter on numerous doctor visits here in Katy that resulted in an extensive neurological evaluation. At two-years-old, Winter Klempel was diagnosed with severe autism.
The Klempels (left to right): Sophia, Micah, William, Sabrina, and Winter.
"It was very scary at first," Sabrina Klempel recalls. "I didn't want to reach out to anyone. I wanted to keep it close. When I reached out, it was easy to find support and local services. We started speech therapy and occupational therapy right away. We enrolled him in the PPCD program through Katy ISD which is absolutely amazing."
Winter receives in-home speech therapy twice a week before school. He is now five-years-old and will be in kindergarten next year at the King Elementary PPCD.
As parents of an autistic child, the Klempels understand the importance of routine. Although Winter's dad, Army Sgt. Micah Klempel, is stationed overseas, he works to maintain a routine.
"At first (Winter) was running around asking for Pappa," says Sabrina Klempel. "We Facetime everyday. Right now it's spotty because they are moving." Sgt. Micah Klempel is currently deployed in Syria and serves as a mechanic for special forces.
Sabrina Klempel hopes her husband will be home by November. Until then, how does she manage with three young children, and a husband overseas? Sabrina Klempel has established a strong local support system through Hope City Church, and fortunately, her mom lives only 10 mintues away.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Thanks to Winter's passion for cars, and his mom's dedication to making him smile, they are promoting awareness for autism.
Photo Credit: Sabrina Klempel
"A police officer pulled me over," says Sabrina Klempel. "He quickly told me that he wasn't writing me a ticket but wanted a picture of my car. His son was autistic too." Sabrina Klempel has also been stopped by curious people at other locations around Katy.
"I've been stuck in I-10 traffic and see people taking pictures, and I know that this is why we did this," says Sabrina Klempel. "I want kids to point, to get excited. I want them to smile and show their parents, and just start talking about it."
In the words of Winter, "Mommy that is amazing!"
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