WHO WE ARE
A personal letter...
One day, while waiting for my children to finish karate class, I saw a young woman walk in with two children. Her daughter freaked out immediately when the door opened, her mom panicked, she looked embarrassed and overwhelmed. I instantly recognized her behavior as a reaction to sensory overload. I quickly walked up to her mom and said, “It’s ok, I got you,” she fell into my arms, and we cried together. I asked the instructor if we could use his private office for a moment and he obliged. Once in the room, I shut the door and turned off the lights, her daughter calmed down. Her mother told me that she was just diagnosed with Autism a few weeks ago and didn’t know what to do or how to help her. Her older son wanted to do karate. However, she had no one to help her with her daughter. Hence, she ventured out knowing that the odds of things working out were low. I could see the guilt, fear, and anxiety from denying her typical kid-appropriate activities because they adversely affected her daughter on the spectrum. This frustration and despair from the inability to balance things out to ensure no child was neglected, got the better part of her. I gathered all the information I had used myself and gave it to her, gave her my number and told her to call me any time, even if she just wanted to cry, I could always use a good cry now again. It was then I decided to move on the decision to start up a non-profit Autism Foundation with my best friend who happens to be my son’s God-Mother.
Pierre was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, he is almost 14 years old now, needless to say, I have a lot of experience. He is on the severe end of the spectrum and requires 24/7 support. When he was diagnosed, I had never heard of Autism, I was so clueless. Unfortunately, I didn’t have vital information that I now know I needed back then. He suffers from insomnia, so my husband and I worked opposed shifts to ensure that one of us were awake for him. I had a newborn at that time, and stress took its toll financially, physically and emotionally, collectively affecting our health. Several times I would wish, “Oh! If only I could get a good night’s sleep, if only I could get help for him, if only I knew how to get him the services he needed." Rather wallow in self-pity, I decided to research on my own to find ways of helping my son that will reduce stress on me.
It wasn’t easy, I hired lawyers and advocates to help get the services he needed, the progress he has made is remarkable. In retrospect, I wish there was someone with the experience who could have educated or provided me with the resources needed for the right school, therapist, diet, medication, and childcare that I so desperately needed at that time. I am passionate about helping families with children on the spectrum because I can relate to the challenges. Hence, my goal is to raise awareness and assist families with newly diagnosed individuals to navigate the system, educate them on what services they are entitled to, provide emotional support, and respite to parents and siblings of individuals with Autism.
Thank you for supporting our cause.