Testimonials from our Grant Recipients
The "Abrams" Family
I have been wanting to take my son on some form of vacation that we both can in enjoy and be ourselves, and AotS popped up on my Google search. I was so excited and grateful for this grant! Thank you so much for allowing me and my son to be able to enjoy a vacation were we can with others with our same life Struggles.
The "Baker" Family
"Grateful" doesn't even cover how I feel about being selected for an AotS grant! I'm a single mom, and it seemed like any sort of real vacation was financially impossible - or possible but after years of saving. I've spent nights worrying about them missing out simply because I can't afford something extra like a cruise. On top of that, I also worried over my kiddo: Would he have fun? Would we be treated rudely? Would places be accommodating? Working with AotS answered all those questions: Of course he's going to have fun - a cruise with pools and the beach?! Who wouldn't? Will people be rude? Possibly, but he'll be with peers and people that understand him, and that makes it easier to ignore rudeness from strangers. And accommodations? I have no worries at all since I know our trip begins with a social story to help him prepare. And since AotS is partnering with cruise lines for things like private muster and waived clothing dress codes, it indicates to me they've had long conversations with the cruise lines on various needs. That's huge for me. Someone else doing the legwork to prep so I don't have to wonder, "How much will I have to educate people?" means I actually have hope we'll have a real, relaxing family vacation. Now I'm not worrying about the "ifs" and "whens" - I'm actually planning for fun!
"Brenna, Taylor and Tessa"
Hi. I'm an autistic woman raising 2 children with disabilities. One is an adult now with severe bipolar disorder and anxiety so severe she has struggled to be on her own. The other a 10 year old with autism. Severe speech apraxia, Rubinstein Taby ray 2, epilepsy, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, severe cognitive disabilities, ocd, adhd, and she self harms (bites own hands, picks fingers). I had to quit my job due to the overwhelming need to be there full time. (Childcare that's qualified to handle these needs cost more than I could ever earn) We get by on government help and my creative writing talent.
Three years ago I also became permanently physically disabled due to an elderly woman running a red light and hitting myself and youngest. We slid in snow and hit a utility pole. I had to be cut out and I've had surgery that was mostly about cleaning up the damage more than repairing it. Kiddo got a head injury that had caused migraines for years now. We need some good luck.
Thank you. Forever thank you for this gift. It means more than you will ever know.
The "Crawford" Family
We are so grateful to be the recipients of an AotS grant. As a family with a special needs child, vacations are on the bottom of the list of priorities. We are so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to make some amazing memories!!
The "Molby" Family
I would like to thank you for the grant that we have received that is allowing our family to sail to Alaska in 2022. We are so excited for this opportunity. This will be the first time we have ever traveled with assistance and can't wait to see the difference it makes. We usually return from trips stressed and tired, but feel, with the assistance of the staff, we all have a chance of enjoying our time away. Thank you to all of the generous donors who so thoughtfully gave of their resources to make this trip possible for us. We are truly grateful.
Thank you so much for providing us with this amazing opportunity! I am a solo parent of an amazing kiddo who is on the autism spectrum. We spend our days focused on coping skills, safety, and daily living tasks. Autism doesn’t take a break for vacation, and transitions are difficult for my son. We have attempted vacations before, which turn into a job in themselves. Requesting accommodations, explaining autism, and answering questions for people who have a certain perception of autism, gets tiring. Autism can be invisible, so sometimes we are judged when we ask for accommodations. Now that my son is 12, he realizes that he is different. He would rather not attempt a vacation at all than to risk feeling unsafe in an unfamiliar place, or to be embarrassed. The last time we took a short trip, we spent our entire time in the hotel room rather than sight seeing and experiencing the trip as we had intended, due to autistic meltdowns. It was draining and we couldn’t wait for it to be over.
My son has lots of memories of health issues and autism-related struggles in his childhood. I can’t wait to outshine some of those with an amazing, relaxing and fun vacation!
The "Perry/Rush/Lloyd" Family
Thank you for awarding my family with a grant. This is our first opportunity to take a cruise. Being a special needs family, we have limited access to certain activities and venues. This would provide us with never before chance at a new experience and memories. Stay well and blessed. Respectfully, The Perry/Rush/Lloyd family
The "Laguerre" Family
Honestly it took me a minute to figure out how to explain how much this Grant means to my family and I. We have never been on a True vacation and without the blessing of this grant we would not be headed to our first ever cruise. We have not told the children as of yet we want to make sure that it is paid in full then we want to completely surprise them by driving straight to the ship. I want to video the look on their face when they find out and I hope I can share it with you all. I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity.
The "Singleton" Family
The family of Ashley Shipp want to let you know how grateful we are for this kind token of love. This will allow our family to take part in a much needed vacation especially since Ashley didn’t have a great time being away from her normal group of friends during covid .
The "Martin" Family
Thank you so much for the grant you have generously awarded us with. As a disabled mom raising a son on the spectrum alone, I had not ever been able to take my son far from home. Receiving financial assistance for a trip with Autism on the Seas on a staffed cruise removes both financial and physical barriers for us. I don’t have the words to describe how excited my son and I both are to have this opportunity. Thank you so much, Glenna M
The "Sanger" Family
We are so thankful for this grant as it will let us do something we have always wanted to do. Knowing that this helps us go on this fantastic cruise with the AOTS staff supporting us is a dream come true. We never would have been able to do this without the grant support and we are all excited to go on this adventure. Thank you again for your support! The Sangers
The "Rodriguez" Family
We are so happy that soon we will be taking our first cruise with Autism on the Seas! I remember going on our first cruise and seeing a group in orange and they totally caught my attention! I then found about them? Our autistic son LOVE to swim so we plan all our vacations and time off around water so we can all enjoy! Camping here in Canada but mostly taking Caribbean cruises! Having said this is always hard for us as parentes to give our full attention to our daughter at times, or have some desterved alon time for us as a couple! So this is it! I think we are set up to have the perfect vacation! Thank you for helping families like us to have this amizing and unique opportunity! This is a huge blessing for us and we are so looking forward for this and many more vacations with Autism on the Seas! Thanks! Dayris R
The "Sikes" Family
Thank you so much for this opportunity. Our family is especilaly thankful for this following COVID and no vacations and very stressful times. We would not be able to provide this
experience to our son otherwise. I am also ver excited to meet new families ans share experiences, and hopefully gain new knowledge.
The "Hickson" Family
I am so excited about my cruise. This has been a blessing to me and my family and we thank you very much. I tried three times before receiving a grant. Thank you so very much for
everything. I know we are going to have a great time. This trip is very much needed. I don't get a chance to take my son anywhere due to his condition. Thank you so much.