All posts tagged: autism

The Importance of Donations

Diana and her sistersAs an older sister to two incredible, beautiful, amazing girls with autism, I am extremely grateful for the amount of support from donors that help keep The Autism Research Foundation running. Since I was able to speak and to think on my own, I’ve known that my most important role in life would be to be my sisters’ voice.

They’re unable to thank you and to let you know the level of gratitude my family and I have for any and all donations that bring life to an organization that devotes their time and energy to bettering the lives of those on the autism spectrum, but I am.

I’m able to say that research on causes and cures continues to grow because of funding from donations of all amounts.

I’m able to say that children with autism are getting involved in sports and other typical activities because of the generosity of strangers.

I’m able to say that increased knowledge throughout the world about autism has become available thanks to the love that comes from those who care about talking about it.

I’m able to say that families who thought they could never support their child with autism have new hopes and dreams created by the efforts made by a few good people.

I’m able to say that new therapies and interventions have been discovered that have brought comfort to those living with autism because of the money raised in support of brain-based research by organizations like The Autism Research Foundation.

What I can’t put into words is the amount of love that families like mine have for donors. They are what keep our hopes alive, our dreams for my sisters big, and our lives in motion.

There is nothing that I’m able to say that could describe the feeling I get when thinking about there someday being a cure-all because people that I don’t know care about my sisters enough to give generously to research efforts.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

To make more contributions in support of families like mine, donate here.

theautismresearchfoundationThe Importance of Donations
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It Can Be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is upon us in full swing. Family calendars become full with school functions, family gatherings and church services. All are meant to spread peace and joy further, yet the opposite occurs in our family. My 4-and-a-half year old daughter — my angel, Lilly — has autism. The cattle herd-like shuffling in winter coats from unfamiliar place-to-place proved a nightmare for her. I strategically planned my holiday outfits around needing the ability to lunge through the air to stop her from opening other children’s presents at homes and the decorative display presents in shops.

After the 3rd year of this madness, performing our family’s rapid “fire drill” exit just 10 minutes after arriving at a family Christmas party, we called it quits. Through tears and sobs by the entire SUV, we declared we were done: going “off the grid” as my husband declared on Facebook to be exact.

We soon realized that as much as we needed a time out to stop the madness of this horrific nightmare, it wasn’t the right solution either.

Lilly enjoying the first official snow of our New England winter.Now, in our 4th holiday season, we have a game plan that suits our family’s needs. Just like the beautiful snowflakes that fall — unique in their nature and appearance — so are our angels with autism. Listening to her needs, verbal or not, makes for a better holiday season.

I offer to host at my house, or accept an offer to a house or place I know my daughter feels comfortable in. We say “yes” to morning and daytime activities, and a big fat “NO, THANK YOU!” to nighttime parties and functions, for now. We have shifted our expectations and feel at peace with them. If my husband or younger daughter really want to attend a night function, we split up, and one of us stays home with our Lilly.

For me, the joy of the season looks like this: Watching my daughter hang her own Dora ornament on her 2-foot-high tree. It’s letting her use our Christmas cookie cutters to mold Play-Doh instead of help her younger sister and I bake Christmas cookies. And it’s about vetoing the Elf on the Shelf for another year because she won’t understand it yet, and that is okay with me.

— Michelle Fulton Steiner

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