Autism is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder in the United States, currently affecting 1 in 54 children. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges in communication, behaviors, and interaction with others. The effects of autism and the severity of symptoms are different in each person. However, across the spectrum, over 30% are nonverbal, 50% wander away without any sense of danger, 2/3 between the ages of 6 and 15 have been significantly bullied, and 92% (almost all) will be unemployed as adults. Boys are 4 times more likely to have autism than are girls. There is no medical test or medial cure for autism. Without appropriate treatment, the cost for lifelong care is estimated to be $2.4 million per person. The good news is that with the right intervention, nearly 50% will be able to become independent, productive members of their communities.
My nephew, Michael, has autism so I personally know how this disability affects not just the individual with autism, but also the entire family. Michael receives services through Project Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a lifespan of autism services through programs that Help families, Open minds, Promote inclusion, and Expand potential. My sister, Susan Sachs, and Lisa Lane are the founders and executive directors of Project Hope and I know first-hand what an impact this organization has had on thousands of children, youth, and adults with autism and their families.
Project Hope’s innovative programs serve across ages, across the spectrum, and across needs. They provide a continuum of services specifically designed to address the unique challenges of the autism community. Project Hope currently serves over 225 children in its therapy program where each child receives 25-40 hours of one-on-one best practice intervention every week; nearly 100 children in its own school and through collaborations with other public and private schools; and 20 adults in its employment training program and in Printed by Hope, a digital t-shirt printing business operated by adults with autism.
For over 15 years, A1 American has generously supported Project Hope Foundation, helping to change the trajectory of the lives of children and families living with this devastating disorder. Reach out to us or visit the Project Hope Foundation website to help make a difference!