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While Autism Delaware has been supporting individuals and families affected by autism for 21 years, many families are just beginning their journey. The national incidence of autism is now one in 59 births. Delaware is not immune to this trend; thousands of families in Delaware are impacted by autism and their journey often begins with fear, worry, and a lack of resources. With your donation, we can continue to support more families.
Millsboro residents Sondra and Stephen Kuhns braced themselves for a challenge when their son Stephen Jr. received an autism diagnosis last year. And they got one in the form of an inconclusive autism evaluation from their son’s school despite Stephen Jr.’s obvious need for speech therapy. This discrepancy is critical because—separate from a medical diagnosis—Delaware families must meet the criteria for special education as defined by the Department of Education to receive school-based services and supports. Without special education eligibility, Stephen Jr. could not get the critical services he needed. The Kuhns were going to lose speech therapy services, and their hopes of help for their son and family were crushed.
The Kuhns have a very supportive extended family, a great network of friends, and two young daughters (Ava 11 and Arianna 5) not on the autism spectrum, who love their little brother deeply. Even with all this support, the Kuhns were desperate for educational support for Stephen Jr. Their worry and anxiety skyrocketed. Then Sondra was referred to Dafne Carnright at Autism Delaware.
“That moment,” notes Sondra, “was like a godsend.” She and her family found support through Autism Delaware’s newest model of support, the Autism Care Team. Called ACT, for short, this program connects family support providers, like Dafne, with families and supports them along their journey and in their own communities. Like all ACT staff, Dafne has a child on the autism spectrum, so this program is about parents helping parents not only to understand and develop the tools they need to help their children with autism but also to get valuable information. No other program like this is currently available in Delaware. “Dafne would meet me at the McDonald’s play area near my house time after time,” continued Sondra, “to coach me on how to support my son. It was amazing. She understands what we are going through because she has also gone through this. Dafne guided me on the basics of what do I do, where do I go, and what do I do next. It was all so overwhelming. I couldn’t tell you where my son would be—where I would be—without the support from Dafne. It makes me cry to even think about it, and it’s only been one year.”
As a result of this support, the Kuhns family was able to have Stephen Jr. reassessed. Today he receives the special education services he needs. When Sondra is asked what advice she has for families, she says, “I tell families who have not reached out to Autism Delaware to run—Do not wait! Run, and get the help you need. I cannot imagine having to do this on my own.”
To donate by mail, please forward your gift made out to Autism Delaware to one of our two office locations:
The most cost-efficient way to support Autism Delaware’s work is through an unrestricted financial gift. These funds support the day-to-day work of Autism Delaware including: Family Supports, POW&R, social/rec events, and advocacy. If possible, choose to give a recurring gift so we can better plan and budget our programming. Thank you!
Major Fundraising Events to Benefit Autism Delaware
Autism Delaware runs four major events each year to raise money and friends. Funds raised from these events support our statewide services. We invite you to attend, be a sponsor and invite your friends to have fun and raise money for Autism Delaware! Click the events below for more information and sponsorship opportunities.
WE NEED YOU!
Volunteers are critical in all aspects of our operations and we simply could not provide the range of services, events, and resources that we do without them. Click below to learn more:
Organize And Run Your Own Fundraiser
We love working with individuals and companies who want to run fundraisers to benefit our work! If you want to run your own event, please contact David Woods, Development Director, at 302-224-6020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of these events take place in or around April, Autism Awareness Month. Examples of events run by our supporters include: a dance showcase, motorcycle rides, paint nights, dodgeball tournaments, beef and beers, blue jeans days at work… and so much more. Small or large, every fundraising event counts. The only limit to fundraising is your imagination! Please consider organizing an event to raise funds and awareness for autism today.
Workplace giving is a simple and effective way for employees to support Autism Delaware’s mission. No matter how small the contribution, every dollar adds up to make a difference.
United Way Giving:
The United Way of Delaware Designation Number 9234.
Southeastern PA Designation Number 12598.