TC Autism is Making a Difference!

What is TC Autism doing in your community?

Read these real-life success stories of families finding resources and hope.

Barbara P.'s Story

It's not easy parenting a child with autism. So many things that other parents take for granted are not even options for you. In a lot of cases, you look at things other kids do and - just know, it's not worth the battle. You get very selective on the activities and environments you even try to make your kid handle. And yet you still try. We did everything from baseball to basketball to tae kwon do, summer camp with MAJOR pre-meetings and strategies with staff and - lots of field trips I was "asked" to attend as a personal chaperone.

In 6th grade, they pulled Zander from all music and arts classes in school in order to give "autism services" and "sensory break" time. Outside enrichment was up to me. We tried beginning piano lessons, hoping he might at least have a positive experience with music. Then, in 9th grade, he started finding sheet music to his favorite songs from his video games and trying to teach them to himself. This love of video game music opened a door in him: he started taking music classes in school and even started writing music. He went to one composition camp and the teachers invited him to a more advanced program, Junior Composers, and offered him a full scholarship!

The first year at Junior Composers was a struggle - new environment, new people, but he persevered and wrote a nice piece. And he caught the bug. He kept composing. He went back the following year for the two week camp - on scholarship again - He has been on a gap year as he prepares for college. His functioning continues to be a struggle every day, and he was not able to do a lot of the things he'd hoped to accomplish at the beginning of the year. But composition was a key focus: he took lessons from one of the teachers who originally took him under their wing.The thought of going back to Junior Composers for another session to really dive into this special environment with peers who have music in common, has now become a highlight of the year for this young man. But this year they could only provide $500 of the $2100 needed for the two week camp.

I sent in the $200 deposit on a wing and a prayer. We figured, there has to be support out there for this young man to get this training, this enrichment, and this chance to form relationships with other young people who share this same interest - maybe even make friends. I was just looking at the deadline looming for the rest of the money to pay for the camp, when I got an unexpected call from Kent Olson from the Twin Cities Autism Foundation offering Zander a scholarship. I have been teared up at my desk on and off thinking about it, knowing that without these funds, Zander might not have been able to go. Thank you for seeing him, for seeing his special gift, and for recognizing the opportunity to make a real difference. Our request was a bit outside of TCAF's usual giving focus: this was for a high level composition camp, not technically for autism services, but the choice to give a young person with autism the support to reach for their true potential in one of the special gifts they really have - is a visionary decision. Thank you, thank you TCAF for making this possible for my son.