I am thrilled, honored and humbled to be named the President of Autism Delaware Board of Directors for 2016. I have been asked “how did” you get involved with the Autism Delaware organization ? Our son Liam was diagnosed with autism and our family turned to Autism Delaware for their knowledge and support. In 2007, Liam tragically passed away at twelve years old from a seizure. We wanted to honor his legacy by staying active in the autism support community. The perfect vehicle for my wife and me staying involved was with the Autism Delaware organization.
As you navigate the website, you see the breadth of services the Autism Delaware team offers to the individuals and families affected by autism. Today, we provide comprehensive family support and consultation, numerous social and recreational opportunities, clinical services as well as adult services through our Productive Opportunities for Work and Recreation (POW&R program).
I am inspired by the entire Autism Delaware staff, my fellow board members and the numerous volunteers for their passion and commitment. From our humble beginnings in 1998 when a small group of parents discussed forming an organization to today, our mission has remained clear and consistent – provide help and support to individuals and their families.
As you know, the facts are sobering with the increase of autism and Delaware is not immune. In 1991, our schools had 152 children on the spectrum. In 2014, it was 1,512 children which is an 895% increase!
The Autism Delaware organization has seen significant growth meeting the needs of our autism community. The following are some prime examples: We have parent mentors who have individual contacts with families to help them navigate through a variety of issues. In calendar 2015, the family support team fielded over 1,400 contacts compared to just 556 in calendar 2011. Our nationally recognized POW&R program which provides adults in the autism community supported employment and social and recreational opportunities has seen explosive growth the past few years. In December 2015, we were providing support for 112 individuals working for numerous employers in the POW&R program. In December 2013, we had 68 individuals in this program, a 64% increase in just two years.
It has been an exciting journey with many accomplishments, but our journey has endless miles to go. While we have grown, the needs have grown even faster.
That is where you come in. We depend on volunteers and donations for so much of what we do. There are numerous opportunities that run the gamut from volunteering your time at an event, serving on a committee, advocacy with personal contact with a legislator.
We need your ideas, your time and yes your money to meet our ever expanding needs.
Please reach out to Autism Delaware and join us to make a difference.
President, Autism Delaware Board of Directors