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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.   

We barely make it but somehow manage to.  This doesn't leave a lot room for saving for trips.  I never thought I'd get to see another country or even be on a ship.  It's been a dream of mine and my daughter to travel.  We also don't get to enjoy our family time in a safe controlled environment out side our home often.  It's therapy and home for us. The pandemic was hard on everyone but harder to explain to a child who can't understand why things changed so drastically.  We need this break and adventure.  My youngest absolutely loves the water and will be thrilled when she realizes we are going bye bye in a giant boat. She loves to sit and watch them and now will be on one! She's going to be all flappy hands and screeching for joy.  She deserves this. She works so hard in therapy. She's such a beautiful soul. 

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. 

To top this my car was stolen and used in a crime then totaled. I got no justice or payment because they got away and I only had liability insurance. It's been a very rough few years. We need a break. And something to look forward to. 

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. 

The "Moore" Family

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.

I look forward to being on a trip where my son isn’t isolated because of his autism. I love my family, but they often do not understand. It will be refreshing to have someone there who understands and can help advocate on our behalf. I am in tears writing this because, finally, this feels like this may be a REAL vacation for us. Several years ago, we applied for a grant with AOTSF and were approved. However, we were unable to go because of a health issue my son was dealing with. I have always looked forward to trying again, and have been talking to my son about it for years, in hopes that we would again have the opportunity. We are both excited beyond words. This is really a dream come true. Also, autism is expensive, especially for a single parent. We would not be able to afford a trip or accommodations like this without the grant from the foundation, and the ability to fundraise.

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!

Thank you so much!

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.