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Sanibel charity assists local youngster’s family with award

By Staff | Jun 22, 2010

The Autism Fund, Inc., a Sanibel based charity, is pleased to announce that it has made a treatment grant award on behalf of a 5-year-old Cape Coral child who is affected with Autism. 

This child, who will be called “Austin” (not his real name), was a normally developing little boy until, at the age of about two, his parents noticed significant changes in his behavior.

First, Austin began to lose his ability to speak, although he had previously had words in both English and Spanish. Then, he began to withdraw, refusing to interact with, or even make eye contact with, his parents and sister. 

Finally, he began having outbursts and engaging in repeated, ritualistic behaviors such as lining up all his toys, but not playing with them.

Austin’s parents had him evaluated by an expert in Autism Spectrum Disorders, who determined that he was Autistic. He immediately began daily behavioral therapy sessions and his symptoms slowly began to recede. 

Unfortunately, his father then lost his construction job as the recession deepened and the housing market slumped. In addition, the family lost its home in foreclosure.

With the unfortunate financial situation, his therapist then applied to The Autism Fund on Austin’s behalf and The Fund’s Board of Directors found his case compelling. The Autism Fund was created to provide financial aid for families with children who cannot afford proper treatment. With help from the Autism Fund, Austin is back in four days a week and is continuing with his progress.

“This is just the type of child The Autism Fund was created to help,” said Sanibel resident Patrick O’Sullivan, The Fund’s manager. “His parents have shown dedication to their child’s treatment, he has responded well to the behavioral therapy he was receiving, and he is young enough that continued early intervention will pay him the most dividends.”

The Autism Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity created to provide Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy to very needy children on the Autism Spectrum who reside in Lee or Collier counties.  

To learn more about The Autism Fund and its mission, or to make a contribution, go to www.theautismfund.org.