“As a Latino parent of two children with Down syndrome, I know my children aren’t getting enough support from our regional center. I can’t afford to send both of them to a special dance class where they have so much fun and stay in shape. If my regional center could pay for it, my children’s lives would be so much better.”
Cendy Topete, parent of Emily, 16 and Alex, 10
"Taking theater classes and attending summer camps as an autistic child helped me thrive and make friends with my peers. I would not be as outgoing and productive member of the world if I didn’t have these opportunities. If these social and recreational activities helped me, it will help countless more."
Zoey Giesberg, MSW, Person with Autism
“My two sons benefitted from camp and swimming when they were younger, but since the services were cut in 2009, they haven’t be able to participate in either. The consequences are that they gained weight and in the summertime, my son Daniel regresses in his social skills. My son Daniel is an artist and he loves to paint but his future is being impacted by not being able to receive art classes. His behaviors calm down when he is drawing.”
Josefina Nieves, mother of Néstor, age 24, and Daniel, age 22, both with autism
NestDan, East Los Angeles
“Therapeutic horseback riding has been critical for my son, who has cerebral palsy. Riding on a horse strengthens his muscles and is the closest he comes to his body feeling like he is naturally walking. And, mostly importantly, he has a lot of fun.”
Kim Sinclair, parent of Ryan, 15
“My son's camp experiences allowed him to develop the necessary skills to become more independent, socialize with peers, and develop skills that now as a young adult he is using for work. “
Elaine Hall, mother of Neal, 23 years old non-speaking autistic
“My son absolutely lived for the days he could go to camp with his friends who shared the same diagnosis. Camp was the one place he felt autonomous. We need to reinstate social and recreational funding so that Josh and his peers can experience independence under the guidance of counselors trained to support them. Without it, these young adults are missing the fun that their neuro-typical peers have always had.”
Julie Kennedy, Mother of Josh, aged 20 with autism
"My son Cain started horse lessons when he was three. It was the first time we saw him smile and the first time he started speaking words. For us, it was incredible how the horse impacted his life. Since the budget cuts, he started having more behaviors. We want that service back. My son needs that service back. Right now he is 14 and he is asking for gymnastics but we don’t have the money to pay for special needs gymnastics and a regular gymnastics won’t take him."
Sandra Maravel, Parent of Cain, 14
"I have three children with autism. I have tried to put them in regular swimming lessons, but unfortunately there were no trained staff and a lack of support. My children not able to follow the rules and socialize, and are frustrated. As a Hispanic family, we do not have the resources to pay on our own lessons. Restoring these services not only help my children to have a better quality of life and could save their lives from drowning."
Leticia Anaya, Parent of three children with autism
"I am father of a boy on the autism spectrum who receives services funded through South Central LA Regional Center. Since the budget cuts happened in 2009, my son is too young to have ever received funding for social and recreational programs. My son and many others will benefit greatly from these types of programs that improve his self-esteem and confidence to socialize with other peers."
Abner Antunez, Parent of Abner, Jr., 10, with autism
"I am the mother of a son with autism. These services are very important to my son because they guarantee a better quality of life. Many of us in the Hispanic community do not have the resources to have access this kind of service that not only helps and includes my son in the community but also improves his physical and mental health."
Angelica Orellana, Mother son with autism
“It's very important to restore regional center funding for camp & social/recreational programs. It helps our Children with special needs like my son, D’Angelo, who has CP, autism, and intellectual disabilities. He loves to ride horses and swim. These services will help him with his CP and his other disabilities. It’s important to be around kids who have the same needs. It gives him the opportunity to make friends. He deserves to enjoy life just like everybody else.”
Maribel Ahumada, Parent of D’Angelo, 13
“The Miracle Project has taught me how to interact and express myself in the most educational setting. I participate with my peers and transfer that any setting. It makes me so happy to fit in and feel like I belong.”
David Isaacman, Age 23, Self-advocate with autism
"My son is a nonverbal autistic young man. In 2009, when the budget was cut and he no longer could get funding from our regional center, he couldn’t get gymnastics anymore even though it was very important for his health and his happiness. Then we had to pay for swimming out of our pocket and we really can’t afford that. But it was important for him to learn water safety."
Mary Munoz, Parent of Joshua, age 23 with autism
“Fully-inclusive performing arts programs such as The Miracle Project have been life changing for my son, who has autism. Working as part of a specialized theatre group to write and perform original theatre productions has helped my son tremendously with his social skills, self esteem and confidence, anxiety management, and even his reading, writing, and comprehension skills. Plus, all of these incredible benefits happen while he’s having the time of his life!”
Laura Krupp, parent of Lathan, 11
"When my son was diagnosed with autism at age two and a half, the doctor told me that he may never develop the ability to communicate and would never be able to lead a normal life. He’s now 25 and lives independently. He goes to work every day to support himself; he shops, does laundry, uses the bus to go wherever he chooses and he spends time with his friends. I attribute his progress to the programs he participated in outside of traditional therapies and school, such as music therapy, horseback riding, summer camp, and a drama program called The Miracle Project. These recreational programs were critical for him to develop the functional language and social skills necessary for him to hold a job and lead a fulfilling independent life."
Kathy Finn, Mother of Quinn who has autism
“Like many children on the autism spectrum, my son has an obsession for water (including pools and beaches). For my son and my family, swimming is very important because it helps my son improve his physical and mental health. But above all, this could save his life of my son and prevent him from drowning.”
Ana Pineda, Parent of 7-year-old with autism
“Theater and performance has become a deep and abiding passion for my daughter with mild cerebral palsy. Not only does participation in these activities give her a much needed sense of belonging, acceptance, independence, confidence and accomplishment, but they contribute to improvement of speech, memory, and overall cognitive function.”
Louise Webber, parent of Natalie, 36
“Having camp and adaptive swimming therapy will help my son to socialize, to expand his vocabulary, to maintain eye contact, and to limit his sensory outbursts. In the Hispanic community, we don’t have access to pay for expensive services that only private agencies and trained staff offer to our children on the spectrum.”
Magali Ochoa, Mother of 10-yr-old son with autism and speech and language impairment
“I am a community leader and mother of two children with autism. They are like other Hispanic children without access to these services, which are very expensive to pay privately. It is their right as American citizens to have a better quality of life.”
C. Rubi Saldaña, Mother of two children with autism
Latino Strong Voice Families, Downey
“Through singing and performing with The Miracle Project my son found his voice and a community of peers and mentors. He is accepted just as he is. His creativity has been unleashed and that led to him being accepted to study screenwriting and cinematography at college this fall.”
Cindy Trost, parent of Hunter, 19
“As a Latino mother with two girls who have autism, I know they need social and recreational programs. The youngest loves music but unfortunately I can not afford music lessons which would help her a lot in her coordination but also give her the opportunity to do something that she loves.”
Karina Saldaña , Parent of two daughters with autism
"Art lessons are important to my grandson to continue his growth as an artist. He was the winner of the 2016 37th Congressional District Art Competition."
Karen Lee, Grandmother of Khary, Aged 22 with autism
“The Miracle Project has been crucial for my son's social development. He has autism, and is severely socially isolated. The Miracle Project allows him to nurture friendships, and create a feeling of confidence in his abilities. The Miracle Project picks up where the school lacks in allowing these children creative outlets for their aspirations.”
Susan Birnbaum, parent of Steven, 21 with autism
“Soy madre de un hijo con autismo y para mi hijo y se que para muchas niños de madres que conosco es muy importante que estos servicios recreacionales se restauren otra ves para nuestros hijos ya quAquí ay un link para ver si mandamos emils cartas para pedir estos servicios para nuetros hijose Ami hijo Lena cambiando la vida la natación porque es el único ejercicio que el disfruta aser le ayuda mucho en sus comportamientos , seguridad, socialiciacion ser más independiente asta para su sobre peso esto le ayudaría grandemente a el, y lo mas importante le ayuda en la seguridad con el agua el se siente más con confianza en el mismo.”
“Soy madre de una joven de 18 años con autismo moderado, Karina no puede tener amigos porque la socialización es una de sus áreas débiles, sin embargó ella ama cantar, pero soy de bajos recursos y no puedo pagarle clases de música, y ella como muchos otros jóvenes se beneficiarían de los servicios recreativos porque, tienen derecho a hacer lo que les gusta como cualquier otro joven, por favor como madre les pido que nos escuchen y traigan de nuevo estos servicios.”
Marta Alvarado, Parent of 18 year old with autism