You’ve just gotta love a kid whose best friends are stuffed snakes and his big sister!  Here’s the family’s story:

“Easton has a smile that brings smiles, warmth, and love to all those around him. He finds the simplest things in life interesting and worthwhile. Easton is two and half years old and was diagnosed almost a year ago with autism spectrum disorder and global developmental delays; Easton is non-verbal. Since his diagnosis, Easton has been receiving speech and occupational therapy services from an in-network provider almost an hour from our home. We make multiple trips per week (1 hour each way) to get him these services. With the transportation costs, time I must take away from work, and the in-network cap of 20 speech visits per year (Easton receives 3-4 a week), my husband and I spend a significant amount of our income to provide our son the services he desperately needs. Easton has also been on an ABA therapy waitlist for almost 8 months. With our hope of finding Easton a BCBA anytime soon, my husband and I are looking into trying to hire a RBT to work with Easton in the home. Easton’s speech therapist has strongly urged us to purchase an AAC device. Easton trialed another child’s device and responded very positively to being shown how to use it. Within two sessions, he had already mastered pressing the “help” selection. After seeing his face light up and the smile on his face, I knew we needed to do everything we could to obtain a device of his own. A device to give him a voice in his own life; a device that will allow him the ability to say, “I love you too, Mom.” Unfortunately with all the above listed expenses, in addition to our four year old daughter’s medical needs, we cannot to afford to make up the difference that the insurance company will not pay for.

Our daughter Emery also has autism spectrum disorder, as well as apraxia of speech. Emery has also been receiving extensive speech and occupational therapy services for the last two years. Due to our constant battle with insurance companies, we uprooted our daily life to move into a school district that could provide the appropriate IEP services. This move has also affected our family financial situation. I know there are so many families out there experiencing these same financial struggles, and you cannot possibly provide for them all; but whatever you can spare to help my family would be greatly appreciated and truly impact my child’s future. There are not enough words to describe what this would mean to us.

Some fun facts about Easton – he has three major loves: his big sister, the outdoors, and his stuffed snakes (stuffed animals). Easton and his sister are inseparable. While Emery’s speech still has much progress to be made, she is able to help communicate with others what her brother needs; Easton knows he can always rely on his sister to help him (even when it’s getting into trouble!). They will spend hours outside every week exploring their surroundings, playing in mud puddles, climbing into their treehouse, and laying on the trampoline. Easton is attracted to anything he can drag or whip around in the air…like his stuffed snakes. His snakes, as Emery says, “are his best friends”. He has five snakes, each 4-5 feet long. They go with him everywhere. The bring him instant happiness, calm him when his is upset or scared, and keep him company in his cubby hole (he climbs into his cubby hole when overstimulated). And only the snakes are allowed in the cubby hole.”

Giving a child a voice is really a gift for not only the child, but for their family, friends, and teachers.  To help us give Easton and all non-verbal kids a “voice” – please donate today at www.varietykc.org/donate.

Thank you!