Recent Grant Recipients
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We are so grateful to ACT Today! for the grant you gave to our son, Josef. Josef is an active child and enjoys many activities. We strive to provide him with many opportunities for socialization as this is a challenge for him. Unfortunately our budget has been severely impacted since my husbandís diagnosis of stage IV kidney cancer. We are both self employed and had already been experiencing financial pressure due to the economic downturn prior to my husbandís illness. Because of your grant, Josef was able to take swimming lessons and participate in a gymnastics program. He is so happy and starts speaking about it when itís time to go. Your organization made a huge difference for Josef. I was so worried the impact of illness and financial pressure would stunt Josefís development. Itís too easy to get caught up in the stress and unintentionally sidetrack Josefís needs. Because of you, Josef can enjoy being a kid, try new activities and have some fun. Thank you!
Hello - I am a single mother of a child with autism. I am always afraid of my son just running off. Our road is very dangerous because people drive about 70 mph on our road. I am always afraid of him going around the house and getting hit so this fence will give me peace of mind. This fence will give him his own space to be free and let him feel like a kid. It means so much to me and I know for him too. He plays outside all day long from sun up to sun down. I can't say thank you enough.
We are a military family. My husband is a Marine currently deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months. Our 5 year old son J was diagnosed with autism when he was 22 months. J did not return a smile and did not pick up on social cues like waving. We had him evaluated because he had a language delay. We left that appointment with a diagnosis of autism. It has now been over three years since his diagnosis and J has matured, grown, and overcome so many deficits. When we learned my husband would be deployed for year my heart sank. I immediately began to look for any resource that might benefit J while his Daddy was away. Camp Royall is a summer camp. After researching the camp I knew it would be an amazing experience for J. The need for funding led me to discover ACT Today!. Fortunately we were awarded a $1,500 grant to cover nearly all of Joshua's camp tuition. This grant has benefited everyone in our family. My husband is comforted to know J is able to experience fun outdoor adventures even though he is not here to take him. I have the added benefit of a week of respite to give some much needed attention to our daughter who often times get overshadowed by her brother. But most of all J gets to have the experience of a lifetime. He gets to spend a week away from home, meet new friends, broaden his life experience, and have fun! What an amazing gift to a boy who faces so many challenges.
Dear ACT Today!,
We received a grant to build a fence. Our son Ezekiel, age 12, was diagnosed with autism at age 6. He suffered grand mal seizures, sometimes several a day, from the ages of 7 1/2 until almost 11, 3 years. He also has selective mutism. Animals are so important to Ezekiel. He has a little pocket beagle named Buster. We were afraid to let Ezekiel take Buster outside because there were some stray dogs that tried to attack Buster before. We also were concerned about Ezekiel wandering. He has 2 siblings that spend a lot of time in the front yard. This fence has allowed him to have open access to the yard again. He is taking Buster out to play, playing baseball, swinging. When Ezekiel was younger, and throughout the years, he has always drawn pictures of mini donkeys and farm animals. His dream has been to have a little farm. Some people say the animals are therapeutic. We know that a boy's dreams, whatever they are, are so important in restoring hope. Ezekiel reads to his animals, and talks and talks to them. You have provided a resource that has been so good for his heart, expanding his world. It is a gift we enjoy everyday as we see him exploring the world again.
Thank you so much
The Mata family
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for awarding a grant to our beautiful son Joshua who is 8 years old and has autism. Through your grant program, we were awarded an iPad 2. Joshua was diagnosed with autism at the age of 26 months and has always been completely nonverbal. Not only will this grant of an iPad 2 allow him to be able to communicate with the world around him like never before, it will allow him to have something that he can use to relate to his peers like nothing else available to him. Joshua has always desperately wanted to interact with kids his own age and watches them as they play without him. Thank you so much for giving our son an opportunity that we could not have given to him.
He has not let this iPad go since we got it set up for him this morning. There has never been anything that has been able to hold his attention for that long, ever.
Thank you again.
Jason and Susan
Dear ACT Today!,
Thank you for providing this opportunity for our family.†The grant for fencing materials and installation has helped in so many ways.†My husband, a SSGT, is on a 12-month remote tour in Korea, and being new to the Langley AFB area, it has been a stressful few months. The biggest worry was Gavin's night-waking and wandering issues, especially with the close proximity to a busy road through housing, the flightline, and being so close to the water that surrounds Langley AFB. †Since the fence has been installed, it has given me a sense of relief, knowing that Gavin will have one more barrier and boundary to keep him safe. It has also allowed for the children to have a safe place to play outside-giving them much needed sensory experiences and exercise.
Thank you so much for the grant. As much as I wish I could, I don't think we can ever express how much we appreciate this and how thankful we truly are for your generosity and kindness. Thank you, ACT Today!
I cannot thank ACT Today! enough for awarding my son a grant to get him started with his Naturopathic doctor. He had severe oral sensory issues that caused him to not want to eat....ANYTHING!!! We had therapists coming to the house for over a year, but he did not show much improvement. I could not help but think there were some stomach issues going on that prevented him from wanting to eat. Within 2 weeks of seeing his ND he started eating cheerios and drinking from a cup. Now, 2 months later he looks so much healthier, is trying some new foods and is interacting with people more. If it were not for this support, we would not have been able to get him started with this physician that has helped him tremendously. I can't wait to see what his future holds.
Dear ACT Today!,
Words cannot express my gratitude to you all for providing Darrion with his ACT Today! grant. It has allowed our family to provide him with much needed ABA Therapy for a little while longer. As a single mother, my finances have been stretched to the limit providing this care for him. But it is worth every penny to see the improvements he has made and your grant helped us go a little further.
Thanks again and God Bless,
Family Situation: Single working mom with 11 year old son with autism. Wants to send son to a special needs camp where he can grow and be social. Kyle stays in extended day care so that she can work a full day. She has to drive 300 miles a week to make things work and is having a hard time. Kyle was adopted from Russia when he was 7 months old.
Granted: $500 for camp
Letter from family:
Your check for $500 really helped me out this summer. As I told you before, I am a single working mom with a terrific 12 year old son who happens to have Autism. Kyle was born in Russia and we adopted him when he was 7 months of age. Kyle had a rough start in life. Throughout the years I have found lots of great therapies for him including: speech and feeding, sensory integration, music, Special Olympics and a private school for children with Autism. It hasn't been easy but it is rewarding to see all the progress Kyle has made.
As you know with Autism, social skills are a key deficit. Kyle wants to have friends but doesn't always respond to peers in an age appropriate manner. The social gap is widening between him and typical peers. For this reason, it was time to look for a special needs camp. Kyle attended 5 weeks at a special needs camp designed to meet the needs of children, who have different types of social skill deficits such as High Functioning Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities and PDD-NOS. The camp is called Camp Expressions and this is only its second year. Here, Kyle safely enjoyed a fun summer camp experience while improving and practicing his social skills through carefully selected interactions with typical peers. Last week he asked me "How many more days of camp?" I thought he was counting down the days because he wasn't having fun. He said "Because this might be my new camp." He was having fun! "Formed in consultation with professionals in the field and an active parent steering committee, Expressions provides a much needed program for the specific needs of its campers. In addition to a program full of age appropriate games and activities, Expressions will incorporate activities designed to develop skills in the following areas: conversation, team-building, non-verbal communication, anger management, frustration tolerance, friendship making, problem solving, emotional development & opportunities for personal creativity.
Other activities in this camp program will include arts & crafts, movement and dance, swimming, computers, nature, team challenge activities (including activities on our low-ropes team challenge course) hiking, stream exploration and more." (taken from their web site: http://www.campconcepts.org/expressions.html)
This type of camp is needed in our community. My son wants to be just like everyone else and have fun at camp. This camp allows him to fit in with other kids who are like him. He goes to camp without a shadow (therapeutic staff support) which gives him a feeling of independence. Overall, this camp experience was a positive one for Kyle and I will sign him up again next year.
I am trying to give my son every opportunity to succeed and the foundation to be as independent as he can be when he is an adult. Isn't that what every parent hopes for?
Family situation: 5 children; 3 with diagnosis; husband's chiropractic business failed; he's working in another state; public school program poor; "took my once verbal child and made him mute and withdrawn"; multiple other health problems; grandmother sent letter too, said mom works for the autism cause; sent other rec. letter from First Steps; income was $72k in 2006, but the stated current income is $48k
Granted: $2000 for tuition
Letter from family:
August 4, 2008
Dear ACT Today!
Our family was very excited to receive the grant from ACT Today! The money went toward our two sons' summer program. Nathan and Chase have multiple disabilities, which complicates their autism. They each require very specialized treatments and instructions. Which we all know, for the most part, aren't covered by insurance.
Our family of seven moved the summer of 2006 to be close to extended family, who are a wonderful support. But, unfortunately a failed business was to follow and our oldest son who had limited speech went completely mute in the public school system. Our savings were already drained from Nathan's first year of life, including a complicated birth, heart disease, needing to be on oxygen for 3 months and hernia surgery. Now our income was impacted by tuition, therapy costs, and Nathan's recovery from a hip disease and a diagnosis of Perventricular Leukomalacia (a type of brain damage). Not to be out done Chase was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizure disorder, which did reunite sleep and our family. And sister, Samantha, who has delayed bone growth required orthodontic care, including braces, to keep from loosing her teeth.
We, as a family, made the choice not to purchase a home after our move so that the boys' financial needs would be met. The boys' grandparents postponed the sale of their home after purchasing a second so that our family could live comfortably during this time. We are currently living month to month depending on grants and scholarships to supplement the boy's education. The grant provided by ACT Today! not only helped pay their tuition this month it allowed me the time to put toward future fundraising efforts. Which is a gift I cherish.
While our financial situation sounds quite dreary it is only a moment in time. Our oldest child was diagnosed with autism at 30 months. Today she is indistinguishable from her peers. She plays the violin, acts, sings, is an honor student, plays the bugle in a drum and bugle corps, and is writing a fantasy fiction novel. We work every day to help our boys (and our girls) reach their fullest potential and find joy in small triumphs. Please know that the help you offered eased our burdens and lifted our spirits. To be reminded that there are those who, not out of necessity, but kindness have joined in helping our children living with autism means more to me than words can describe. Thank you!
Elizabeth (Nathan and Chase's mom)
Family Situation: Son was diagnosed with Autism/Dypraxia in 2006 and has been needing at least 30 hrs a week of therapy. They are only doing OT and ST outside of his early childhood schooling. We would do more but cannot afford to. Started seeing a DAN Doctor, doing several lab tests and biomedical treatments, but they cannot afford it. Son is non verbal!
Granted: $500 for bio-med
Letter from family:
I just wanted to say thanks for the grant, for my son Mikey. He'll be using the grant for his supplements (following the biomedical) at Kirkman's. This has help us so much and we appreciate all that you have done!
Family Situation: Family of 4; 2 sons on spectrum; one verbal, one non-verbal; doing lots of bio-med treatments; no ABA at this time, requesting help with ABA; Mother works parttime, Father works fulltime; used savings and Disneyland vacation money to take boys to HBOT - 8
Granted: $2000 for ABA therapy and IV Chelation
Letter from family:
Dear ACT Today!,
Hi Amy, Thank you so much for giving us the good news, that Cody and Andrew have been chosen to receive grant money. I was so happy for them. Cody who is 8 years old now has autism and is non-verbal at this time. Andrew who has autism also, who is verbal, will use the grant money for ABA therapy, which stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. Cody will use the money to help pay for IV chelation for heavy metals mostly lead issues. Each IV session cost $140.00. we have done our 17th treatment already so this will help with around 6 treatments. We will not have to spend out of pocket. Andrew has behavior issues so he will continue to receive ABA to help him and us to handle and deal with behavior issues, which are not acceptable to be having. With both my husband being a paramedic for the FDNY and myself, an EMT in the emergency room, which I only work part time because of child care issues, really have been unable to afford all we do bio-medical, and therapy for the boys. This grant will help make life for the Heer family a little easier. I cant thank you enough for your support.
I'm really sorry if I have misspelled words, but as you know having 2 children with ASD is wind blowing. I guess it has effected my spelling. I would love for you to share our story on your website. I happen to be a very open person when it comes to talking about autism. I would try to help any one going or just starting the journey we have been on for the last 7 years. Again, thank you so much for the help. I will keep in touch and let you know our progress.