Twenty years ago the term ‘‘autism’’ did not mean much to most people. However, in today’s world it is difficult to find anyone who does not know someone who has been closely affected by this disorder. All six of the founding board members of Hope Autism Foundation are mothers of young adults with autism. We each know just what it means to live with autism on a daily basis. A few years ago we were made aware of the fact that there are almost no opportunities for our children once they age out of the school system at 21. The many supports and services they have received as children and teenagers no longer exist when they become adults. Anyone who is a parent can imagine how devastating it is to hear that, despite your best efforts and intentions, there are no job opportunities, no housing options and no social or community activities for your loved one.
We have spent the past two years researching and learning about possible transition options for autistic adults. Although there are very few, we have been pleasantly surprised to find some excellent programs available in other communities. Many of these programs were created by parents, who, like us, realized that if they did not address this need, no one else would. Our hope is that we will be able to establish a day center in Bernards Township to provide vocational and recreational services to adults living with autism.
We want this to be a community effort that combines both private and public support. We are in discussions about forming partnerships with both the Somerset Hills YMCA and Our House to establish an innovative, progressive program for adults with autism. In order for us to continue on our path, we will need much more support and generosity from the larger community. We seek your financial help to make our vision a reality. Donations in any amount will be gratefully accepted. We thank you for opening your hearts and wallets to create a safe haven for these very special and deserving individuals. Your support will not only help those who have autism, but it will also provide respite to their families and caregivers who face the many challenges that autism presents each day with love, compassion and HOPE.
Danielle Guyet Lumby
President, Hope Autism Foundation
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