#ASD: Keep Liam in School

$9,765 of $18,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 52 months
In 2012, Liam was diagnosed with high functioning Autism, also known as Asperger's. He's a bright, brilliant kid, with a passion for cars, Keane, and Minecraft, but the last few years have been a tremendous struggle for all of us.

For three years we've worked with the public school system here, doing everything we can to get the best out of his education. While we've attained his IEP and worked with the staff, we realized it wasn't working out. No one was happy. Not Liam, not his teacher, not us. School is nothing short of torture for him, and his teacher tearfully told us, integrating him into the classroom is a daily challenge to the learning of other kids.

This is the biggest challenge of having a child that's high on the spectrum. While he was initially excited to be attending gifted classes, he quickly became frustrated because he knows he's different. The prospect of being pulled out of class more sends him into a panic and tears.

As he's entering the third grade we can see that while Liam is well above average in his potential, he's still struggling tremendously in his day to day. He can hardly manage the basics: Sitting still, following directions, replying to his name. And he's aware. He's talked about harming himself, having no friends, and feeling as if it's all pointless. He's unhappy beyond belief, and it breaks our hearts. It also spurs his moments of violence and anger, making everything even more hard in our day to day.

Liam's teacher this year said to me through tears: "If I had a child that was struggling like he is, I'd want to know. If I had more time with him, I know we could do great things. But I have 22 other kids to teach..."

At the end of the school year I decided it was enough. We need a village to raise our son, and we scoured the area to find a school that's good enough for him, that will work with him and will give him the resources and additional he needs to become the amazing person I know he is. We found that place.

Liam has been making huge strides at his new school. It's an upward fight, for sure. But it's something we're working on together, with an amazing staff. We're no longer alone. 

But it's costly. And with Michael out of a job, it's harder than ever.  

Since we've had friends and family ask how they can help, I've set up this page for just that. Michael and I are just getting back on our feet financially after a long and arduous trek that started with student loans and Liam's initial hospitalization after he was born, but it's worth it if it means we can go to work knowing that he's taken care of. That he's with people who understand just how special and gifted and maddening and hiliarious he is. 

Want to know more about Liam? I've written at length about our struggle together. And our connection through music.
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Hello, everyone. We wanted to take a moment to just let everyone know how Liam is doing.

First and foremost, Michael and I are doing fine these days, financially. With your helping getting things moving, Liam got a head start and has made some huge progress. If you're interested in helping more kids like him, we recommend donating to his school, Just Right Academy. There are SO many kids in need of help.

http://www.justrightacademy.org

Over all, Liam has good days and bad days. He's still a car nut, of course, but slowly he's learning that there's fun outside of his comfort zone. He even got a backstage tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2017/03/curious-incident-actor-gene-gillette-takes-a-unique-kid-on-a-backstage-tour-of-dpac/.

He's also over five feet tall, now, and is often mistaken for a teenager. His feet are bigger than mine!

We continue to work hard, every day, with our exceptional kid. An impending move to Chapel Hill means that we'll likely hit some rough territory -- he's not a fan of change -- but we know he's going to love it once he's there. We're so thankful for his amazing teachers, family, and community, who never give up on him and love him no matter what. It's a daily reminder of loving unconditionally.

Thank you everyone, again. We are so blessed to have you all.
Liam and his ever-changing hair color.
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A new year is around the corner. Michael will be updating soon at the blog, but while Liam has been flourishing beyond our every hope, the financial burden (with Michael still looking for work) is big. Really big. That total over there? It's going to go back down to zero of $18,000 again in just a few weeks; every year it's a new chunk of tuition. We're getting a small amount of financial aid, but the reality of keeping going at this rate, even with Liam's grant (which comes late in the year, after deposits are due) is pretty overwhelming for us.

One of the things I've been struggling with is a sense of resentment toward Liam. It's pretty awful to admit that, as his mother. But money stresses me out beyond belief; my parents went bankrupt when I was a kid, and the whole business just makes me itchy. We're moving to Durham (with help), and that will reduce our expenses a bit. But Liam's tuition is more than our home payment by a considerable amount. And he's not in a place where he can appreciate or see what we do to make this all work for him. Thankless, indeed. It can be very, very hard some days.

If you have time to share Liam's story today, please do.
Liam at a car show, where else?
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Liam is doing so well at school -- flourishing beyond our wildest hopes. But we still need your help to continue his education through this year and beyond. Consider sharing his story, and don't forget to visit http://www.liamcraft.com
Liam and his "handsome" hair.
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Not going to lie. It's been a haul lately. Every. Single. Day.

Michael sheds a little light into recent struggles:
http://liamcraft.com/2015/01/limits/http://liamcraft.com/2015/01/limits/
Liam, doing his car thing.
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$9,765 of $18,000 goal

Raised by 132 people in 52 months
Created July 22, 2014
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