One in 68 Children has Autism

My son Nicholas was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder 28 years ago and my family has been with QSAC for almost 25 years. When parents are first told that their child has a disability, it can be so hard. It seems at first that all your hopes and dreams for that child are gone, but it does not have to be that way. It’s just a different road that we are going to take to get to that dream.

Our family, upon finding out the diagnosis, hit the ground running. I learned as much about autism as I could and worked hard to get Nicholas the services he needed. So why did we choose QSAC? And why, after 25 years, are we still with QSAC? The staff. The staff who, for us, are part of our extended family now. All the Community Habilitation workers who have taught Nicholas to travel independently, to shop, to cook, to clean and do laundry. He loves doing laundry — he even does mine! His Day Habilitation staff who help him learn vocational skills and support his volunteer work at the Food Co-op. His Medicaid Service Coordinator who are always just a phone call away, no matter what time it is. His Self-Advocacy Group that helps him learn to express himself and socialize with his peers. And all the staff who push Nicholas out of his comfort zone to experience new things and whose patience with him sometimes surpasses my own.

This year, for the first time in his life, Nicholas attended a costume party—something that always seemed impossible, as costumes were outside of his normal routine. But QSAC challenges him and gets him to process his feelings so he can make those leaps.

What do we, as parents, want for our children? Not just our children with autism, but all our children? We want them to be as independent as possible and happy. With QSAC’s help, I know that this is possible for Nicholas. He has just taken a different road there.

Thank you for helping to make QSAC’s programs possible for Nicholas and all the other children, adults, and families, like ours, that QSAC helps each day. I hope that you’ll continue your generous support of QSAC during this holiday season. Please use the form below to make your donation to QSAC.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism. Thank you for your support.

Happy Holidays,

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Elizabeth Cassese