Stories of Hope

Share your inspiring, hopeful story of how autism touched you.

Powered By Love

October 25th, 2011~The day "Autism" became a reality for my son. Ethan was 26 months old at the time; the diagnosis didn't come as a surprise. Yet, it hit my heart like the Titanic struck the iceberg! Only difference being; we refuse to sink.

"Moderate/Severe" is where we spent years 3 to 7. Discouraging statements made by providers who looked at my son as a DIAGNOSIS; rather than the extraordinary individual he is!

Non-verbal. Poor safety awareness. Elopement. Sleeping in front of doors (even w/safety precautions in place). Property destruction. Sensory overload. Meltdowns & Behaviors. Insomnia. Anxiety. Always on the go. Back then, some days were so terrifying, I wondered... Is today the day I will see my son's face for the last time. A heartbreaking experience as a parent. Although, it was always a possibility with how chaotic things were back then. Dispite every precaution my husband and I put in place; it was never enough.

At age 5, it was being recommended - advocated for by professionals would be a more accurate description - that we look at inpatient care.

No resources. No support. "You don't qualify... You exceed income limits... His needs are too 'severe'... We can't accommodate non-verbal..." Ect.

The individuals that were supposed to provide support were only willing to provide a life boat big enough for 4; as if Ethan had no value to offer this world. Yes, it was stressful. It was exhausting. Miserable at times. Our family was drowning and we were met with resistance everywhere we turned. Even requesting a life jacket was too much to ask!

So we did as any parent would in our situation. Putting Ethan in the boat. As my husband & I took turns in the bitter cold water... All the way to shore!

We gave up everything!! Essentially gaining so much more than we ever dreamed of.

October 2016~I became a stay at home mom. One income. Blindly testing the waters. With a hopeful heart that our sacrifice would pay off.

Different city. Different school district. New providers. An entire new team for Ethan. Only allowing those who saw him as a person be involved in his care.

Here we are three and a half years later...

We have a child doing what we were once told wasn't going to be a realistic outcome. Ethan has made astounding progress! And continues to - daily. He's verbal. It's still a struggle with some language skills, but he's able to verbally communicate - MANY, MANY - things. He's thriving in school with academic goals on his IEP; no longer 'life skill' type goals. Ethan even spends time with his neurotypical peers in the educational setting. The most confident individual I know, by far. Our home is nicely decorated. Property destruction, and poor safety awareness, are only a memory now. He is social; always looking to make new friends. We enjoy outings in the community. He can play in the yard without the fear of him running off. Ethan follows directions. Well, about as much as an ornery 10 year old does. LOL.

When I think about 'how' all this progress has been attainable. One single thing comes to mind.

_ LOVE _

Without that, our family couldn't have survived & conquered all that we have. Love is what allowed us to make the choice to fight for Ethan, with him, if you will. After all - HE has had to work the hardest to achieve all that he has. As parents we simply seek out and provide appropriate resources to help our children be as successful as possible.

There is beauty in Autism. If you need someone to remind you of that - I'm only a click away!

Kandis Cranmer

Autism and Love

Autism and Love

I have twin girls who both have Autism. They are high functioning. They were diagnosed at age 3. They have had countless hours of Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. They are now in 11th grade and are straight “A” students for their level. They have come really far since being diagnosed.
In 6th grade our one daughter met a boy who is also Autistic. A friendship started and at 8th grade graduation, he asked her to be his girlfriend. She of course said yes, and boom; they were dating.
Now it’s coming up on 3 years and their love for each other is stronger then ever. They are in separate high schools but we get them together every weekend, and they FaceTime each other 2 or 3 times a day plus text each other. They have dreams of getting married someday. I hope it comes true for them. It truly is a wonderful love story that both sets of parents support.


The PLAY Project Works-- It Gave Me Back My Son with Autism

My son improved dramatically from his ASD using the PLAY Project parent implemented model. Doing therapy with mom at home, he overcame a sever e speech delay. At eighteen months he had the speech of a 6-9 month old. By the time he graduated preschool, he no longer had a speech delay, and was ahead of typically developing children for his expressive and receptive language! PLAY Project was our happy ever after and our miracle. No lengthy therapy sessions in an institutional setting. Our therapy was done at the zoo, in a park, on a swing, in the backyard, on the floor, anytime and anywhere. Its been our miracle. The best part was no drugs or biomedical interventions. I thought it was impossible, but I got my son back from autism with the PLAY Project.

Meghan E Griesemer
Columbus, OH

Thanks, Laura

Just want to respond to Laura Jaquess of Golden, CO: our son was diagnosed in 1975 as "autistic-like characteristics" because the neurologist didn't want to "label" him. Things have certainly improved over the past 43 years, thanks in part to Laura, me, and other parents like us who carried the torch to let others know our kids are human, too!

Hannibal, MO

I Want to Make a Difference

I Want to Make a Difference

Kelsey Norris’ book "I Want to Make a Difference" has just been published. It is available to purchase on the Amazon; Barnes and Noble; and Books-A-Million websites. Kelsey is a 7th grade special education student. She has been diagnosed with autism, intellectual disabilities and Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome. She was found sick and starving in a Russian orphanage when she was 11 months old. She and her mother have worked to overcome many challenges during the past 13 years and, along the way, they have been able to help many other people. Kelsey is very proud of this inspirational book. Order your book today!

Currently, Kelsey is a nationally recognized 14 year old advocate, community volunteer, beauty queen, author and athlete. By the time she was in sixth grade, Kelsey has provided over 1,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $25,000 for a wide variety of causes aiding children and others in difficult situations. She has received a Hometown Hero award from the American Red Cross, two Kohl's Kids Care Scholarship Program awards and a National Youth Activist award. She has been named one of the top ten youth volunteers in the nation by the Prudential Spirit of Community award and has received several Presidential Community Service awards signed by the President of the United States. Kelsey has also honored with official resolutions from her local County Commissioners, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia State Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives commending her for her work to support Georgia children who are in crisis and in other difficult circumstances.

Kelsey Norris
Bonaire, GA

Rocking the Spectrum

Rocking the Spectrum


Our 9 year old son, Gavin, is a sweet, high energy, intelligent boy, who also happens to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, and a receptive/expressive language disorder.

We saw Gavin's love for music at a very early age, which has turned into a passion for playing drums! He received his first drum set for Christmas 2014, and hasn't stopped playing since! We are so incredibly proud of him and all he has accomplished.

This is a kid that has trouble buttoning a shirt, due to his lack of fine motor coordination.

This is a kid that from infancy until around age 5, used to meltdown if he sat on a swing set; the movement made him panic with fear.

This is a kid that 3 years ago, would freak out if he heard a loud noise or would be a "deer in headlights" if we went to a mall or busy store, due to sensory overload.

This is a kid that would mainly stay in his own head and if given the choice, would watch certain scenes of a favorite cartoon or movie on his iPad, over & over again, for hours, instead of interacting with others.

But look at him now... 😊

He takes drum lessons 3 times a week and also plays with a band in St Louis. He absolutely loves performing on stage and has had opportunities to play in front of hundreds of people. He hopes to become a professional drummer when he grows up!

We have recently created a YouTube channel for Gavin, to bring more awareness to the amazing talents that kids on the Spectrum can posses:

Autism doesn't define Gavin - it just happens to be a part of who he is; he is so much more. ♥

We wanted to reach out to not only share our victory, but with the hopes that others would share Gavin’s story & YouTube channel. We hope to encourage other kids to reach for their dreams! Anything is possible!

Christina Martin
Gavin’s Mom

Christina Martin
Belleville, IL

Who I Am & What I Am (The Autism Legend Continues)

Who I Am & What I Am (The Autism Legend Continues)

Hello everyone, I'm Michael McCartney Wind! if you read my previous story, "Who I Am & What I Am", then you'll love the second story based on how I've been doing recently!! This updated story will definitely blow your minds!!

This year, I've completed 5 years of working in the mailroom in New York City! I've made a ton of new friends and co-workers, and I've been working hard to do the best I can!

About a few months ago, I've earned an award after doing my final Young Autism Program dinner performance, singing classic Sinatra for an amazing crowd! And I've also belted out Sinatra's "My Way" at the 2017 Montauk Music Festival!! What did I get at the end, you ask?? A BIG standing ovation!

What kind of hobbies have I been doing? My newest hobbie I've been doing is collecting World of Nintendo action figures, made by Jakks Pacific!! As much as I love Sinatra, I also love Nintendo!!!

I may still have autism, BUT I'm still proud to become the kind of person that I am right now. I'm a hard worker, a great Sinatra singer and a social butterfly! I'm going to give out a message to all of you. Autism is never a good thing, it's never a bad thing. It's just a thing. The more you believe in your kids, support them and give them hope, then they'll have an amazing bright future too! Thank you all for taking the time to read my story on my life! Always remember to fight the mystery!

Michael McCartney Wind
Hauppauge, NY

walking with eli

walking with eli

Walking with Eli is a Facebook page About a young boy who was born in 2011 and was diagnosed with autism in 2016 . It has been hard for Eli's family to find things that interests Eli due to his individual needs and preferences, In 2017 His parents made a hard choice and decided to remove Eli from school and home educate him due to the school not being able to meet his needs. In the month of July 2017 Eli's family have found that Eli enjoys a lot of walking and learns along the way. Eli is a lovely, kind-hearted young boy who finds it hard to integrate with society around him. He says when walking he is free and can be himself. So his parents have put together a facebook page to help Eli show the world his adventures.
Along his journey Eli is trying to raise awareness to the world that small people with autism can achieve big things with the right help, PLEASE help Eli raise awareness by following,sharing and liking his achievements.

tim wells
ryde, United Kingdom

Fly Away To The Big Blue Sky

Fly Away To The Big Blue Sky

In a world where your ears never get a break from noise.
I wish I could cry out for the noise to go far, far, far away
but I can't, nobody can.
It's only a thought, a dream.
As I look up to the sky, I see something out of the blue.
It takes me a while to see what it is.
But when I do see it it come down.
It's a Huge umbrella.
As soon as I grab the candy cane handle I take off into the clouds whoosh.
It's silent up there
very very silent.
As I look down everything is the size of pebbles.
Then I miss them
I miss my friends, my family, and my pets and teachers.
While I was looking down I lower more and more to the ground
until my feet touch the ground.
Now I miss the quietness
But hey that's life and that's out of are control.
Now I'm heading to school, into the bus
I mumble go away noise I walk into the screaming school
and into the chattering classroom.
As I much as I dislike noise
but I also like it too.

By Jadon Thompson
An 11-Year-Old With Autism

Candace Caswell-Thompson
Hudson, WI

Dakota's story.

When Dakota was 18 months old I started noticing problems, like hyperactivity and different little problems. Fixation on things. Went and talked to his Dr. And they sent us to a mental health facility. The Dr there said he had ADHD and that his primary Dr needed to put him on medication. So that's what they did. As Dakota got older and in school. He had a lot of problems. Fixated on computers. A lot of screaming and yelling. Hitting the principal, getting suspended from school. They finally put him on a I.E.P. and in special ed classes. Problems continued. I knew something else was wrong,but know one would listen to me. In middle school things just got worse and he was starting to get bullied a lot. Then the beginning of his 8th grade year the school phycologists called me and she wanted to know if she could do some test on Dakota. I said yes. I got another phone call to meet with her at the school and it was then that I found out he has autism. I told her I knew something was wrong and know one would listen to me. So we sat down and got a new I.E.P. started for high school. When Dakota entered 10th grade he didn't like a few of his teachers. He would get up a leave the class. His teachers didn't want to deal with him anymore, so they decided to put him in continuation school the following school year. I was told I had no say. Over the summer I decided I would talk to the principal. And he was put in a contained class. He needed structure. The thing that sucks about special ed is when they graduate they only get a certificate of completion. But he went back and he earned his diploma. He will b walking in 2weeks. I am so proud of him. He's 19 years old.

Debbie Hankins
Kingman, AZ