COVID was extremely hard on our family, as I was slowly recovering from mold illness and was unable to do all the things I used to do for my daughters. In 2019-2020 I was homeschooling my oldest daughter, who has Autism and Anxiety Disorder. We had to move out of our home to have it remediated, and then back in, which took a toll on her as she doesn’t cope well with change.
Unfortunately, greater changes were ahead for our family. My husband and I separated, and he moved into his own place. He was the primary breadwinner and I worked part-time to care for the kids which left us in a precarious financial position while our divorce was tied up in mediation. I was struggling to make ends meet as the head of household caring for two children. I wanted to make sure my children had opportunities to explore, learn, and play, but couldn’t afford extracurricular activities.
One thing my autistic daughter genuinely enjoyed was going to her respite facility, Kaitlyn’s Cottage. She started going at three years old and attended regularly in the past, accepted some of the staff as extended family, and attended summer camps there. Unfortunately, I had to stop sending her because I couldn’t afford to pay that bill while I was getting back on my feet financially and health-wise.
Kaitlyn’s Cottage offered my daughter the social interactions she needed in a supportive, fun environment, and allowed her to get away from the stress at home.
Her time away also allowed me time to give her little sister some one-on-one attention that she does not receive when I’m caring for her sister with a disability.
Receiving the Suzanne Tyner Autism Assistance Funds was such a blessing to us as it not only allowed our daughter to attend sensory camp and ADVENTURE camp this year (which was such a fun experience for her!), but she also had enough funds remaining to return to Kaitlyn’s Cottage during spring break and during the holiday season. We are so blessed to have this support from Avenues for Autism and to continue to keep life somewhat normal with access to Kaitlyn’s Cottage. Thanks to Avenues for Autism for everything they do!
~Story shared by a grateful mother who wishes to remain anonymous.