Every parent wants to be certain that their child is well cared for—whether that child is 2, 22 or 42. When that child has autism, the need is even more critical.
That’s what makes the support we receive from donors so important. When you give a gift, you are directly impacting the lives of young children, teens and adults with autism. Consider Mark, one of REED Academy’s first students, and these heart-wrenching words from his father about Mark’s diagnosis.
“Our boy Mark had developed normally up until around age 2, but suddenly he was withdrawn. Words, pictures, characters he used to know were no longer there. His eyes just seemed glazed over. He started avoiding people and refused to make eye contact. He went from saying 80 to 100 words to less than 10. We wondered what had happened to our perfect baby. I’ll never forget the date: On Tuesday, November 23, 1999, we got the dreaded news that our sweet child had severe autism disorder.”
Happily, Mark was able to attend REED Academy from an early age, and there he received the life-altering instruction he needed to grow and thrive. When Mark turned 21, he aged out of the school program. But he still had autism—and his needs remained the same.
Consider this sobering fact: At age 21, young adults with autism find themselves cut off from state-funded education, and adult programs and services are few and far between.
Without daily support, these men and women can quickly lose the strides they’ve made—and daily care habits such as showering independently and essential skills like language can slip away.
Thankfully, we are able to support Mark through our new adult day program, REED Next. Launching the program was an important start, but there are thousands more adults of all ages on the autism spectrum who need this vital service.
There is a crisis in this country—and even more so in New Jersey, which has the highest rate of autism in the nation: 1 in 34 children. The need for services for individuals with autism will only continue to grow over time.
This is the most important time of year to give to the REED Foundation for Autism. Friends like you make our critical programs possible, and we need to do more to help this vulnerable population continue to reach their full potential, at every stage of life.
Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to the individuals and families that we serve.
REED Foundation for Autism