I’m riding 240 miles from Evergreen to Avon, Colorado and back for your support of The Joshua School's service to individuals with autism.
On July 14th and 15th, I will bicycle ride from Evergreen to Avon Colorado and back as part of the Triple Bypass event. The journey spans 240 miles and ascends 20,000 ft elevation.
Family and friends have all asked: "Why are you volunteering for this punishment?" Besides it being in my nature, I’m making a spectacle of myself to capture your attention and direct it towards another problem: the lack of services supporting young adults with autism-related disorders.
My passion for the issue stems from our family experience. You may know that my eldest son, Grant, was born with FragileX, the leading genetic contributor to autism. Grant’s autism-related disorders dramatically changed the course of our entire family and child-raising experiences. Many of you know Grant and the blessings and challenges he has bestowed on us. Raising a special needs child takes enormous devotion, fortitude, patience and unconditional love. The task is so great that no one person or family can do it by themselves. Over the past 19 years, there have been many trials and tribulations. It always seems in our most challenging times we were blessed to meet someone or some group that positively changes our lives and most importantly Grant’s. Our family refers to these people as our angels. We don’t know what we’d do without them. After many years searching to find a safe, nurturing environment to help Grant, we were introduced to The Joshua School (TJS). That moment changed the course of Grant’s life and greatly expanded our group of angels. The Joshua School is an educational and therapeutic day treatment center for individuals and families both challenged and enriched by autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. Grant now does things that we never dreamed of and has acquired daily life skills that we had always hoped for but that we never quite got comfortable expecting because we had to guard against expecting too much. Grant has always been a happy person but before attending TJS Grant’s daily life was a constant struggle. The simplest transitions could totally incapacitate him; he also could very easily become over stimulated. This would prevent him from interaction with others or from participating in social activities. Amazingly he now has friends, he goes on simple outings that sound mundane but are small miracles like grocery shopping or school field trips. However, he’s also been fishing, has successfully skied, rode a horse and most recently went for three days to an overnight camp!
The Joshua School gives us hope. What can be more important to a parent? TJS currently serves children from the age of 2 1/2 to 21 years. The Joshua School is now undertaking the development of an Adult Learning Services Program for individuals 21 and over.
Beyond my family there is a large population living with autism symptom disorders. The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has been steadily rising in recent decades and most recently was estimated at one in every 85 children in Colorado, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last year (2011). 50,000 of these young autistic individuals will turn 18 this year in the US.
Public services supporting the populations with autism spectrum disorders decline abruptly after high school age. Over 35% of autistic individuals had no engagement with employment or education in the first 6 years after high school.
I'm requesting your donation in support of The Joshua School so they can expand their services to include an Adult Learning Services Program. The school has an option to acquire a home and property adjacent to their location which is ideal for this purpose.
Donate now and directly reach into the lives of young adults with autism by increasing the availability of support services in the Denver area from The Joshua School. You can also see our progress on the Double Triple Bypass ride on our Facebook page.
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