Team Nolen & Benji
Join our team in raising funds to have a voice with legislators, to have access to the information and resources we need, to support research and medical discovery, and to help fund local services through the mission of Autism Speaks. Together, we can accomplish amazing things for people living with autism. Join the team and begin your fundraising journey today! Set your individual goal at $150 and you’ll be eligible for a Walk Tee Shirt – which, by the way, was purchased from a business that employs people with autism.
Nolen & Benji's Story (from Amy & Kevin):
Having two young children that both have the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder has really shown us that every person with autism has their own unique sets of skills and challenges. Nolen (5) was born in 2012 and around two years of age, started to fall behind the curve for speech and language development. We, being relatively new parents, chalked it up to things we had heard such as boys sometimes being late talkers, and Nolen's stubbornness in wanting to do and say things on his own schedule. After a consultation with our pediatrician, we decided to take Nolen in for a speech evaluation, expecting to hear he just needed a little help to catch up. However, this evaluation was the catalyst for a longer process which eventually led to Nolen receiving a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Benji (3) was born in 2014, about six months before Nolen's ASD diagnosis. Throughout Benji's first few years of life, we were hyper-aware and sensitive to his development, espcially speech and language. When Benji was approaching his second birthday, we felt his langague was a little bit behind and requested an evaluation for early intervention services. At that point, we were told that while he was behind, that there were no other markers for ASD, so we should give him some time. After a re-evaluation three months later, Benji started receiving speech therapy services and making some good progress in his language skills. Through the process of receiving early invervention services, we ended up having Benji evalauted for ASD as well. While we were at the time unsure if he would receive a diagnosis, he did. This diagnosis, as Nolen's, allowed for him to receive on-going services and continue to develop his skills.
As new parents in the special needs community, we didn't know what we didn't know. We've had to learn much of it along the way, and have been lucky to find wonderful advocates for Nolen & Benji in our family and the boys' teachers and therapists, and access to resources such as Autism Speaks.
ASD does not define Nolen or Benji, but has helped us learn to understand their unique ways of processing the world around them, and to foster and encourage their ways of thinking. Both boys continue to amaze us with their growth, and with continued support there's no limit to their potential. From Nolen, Benji, and our family, thank you for your help!!
I'm walking to raise funds for the mission of Autism Speaks - to fuel innovative research and make connections to critical lifelong supports and services for the autism community. Please support me by donating and help me meet my fundraising goal - and you, too, can join the team and make an impact for people living with autism!