Autism Floats

Dan and Brandy Mehlhouse have a dream to start a non profit organization for children with special needs and their families. Unfortunately, starting a non profit organization can be costly with attorney fees and costs associated with making sure it is set up properly and all involved are protected.

Our story:

Let me tell you a little about the beginning of our dream and how it came to be. We have a 10 year old son Nathan who has a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A few other diagnosis have been added since his original diagnosis, which makes Nathan's profile pretty complex and our family's journey a challenging one. As you can imagine, living with a child who has special needs can be quite stressful at times and our family has always searched for a way to find the "calm". An activity that can be relaxing and peaceful but also fun and exciting. An activity that can bring the family together and that can also bring an opportunity for learning.

A few summers ago, during a difficult time in our lives, our family was invited to visit some friends on a beautiful lake in NH and go out on their boat. We felt we needed to get away and do something that we normally wouldn't have the chance to do. When we went out on their boat, we instantly noticed a calm come over our son. The calm of the water and rocking of the boat changed Nathan. He was amazed at his beautiful surroundings and he seemed truly mesmerized. The motion of the boat helped with his sensory needs to be moving or rocking in a way that we have never seen before. From our perspective as parents, it was a peaceful calm and a magical experience that we never had before. We realized that this experience didn't just impact Nathan, but it was a positive experience for our whole family. At that time we knew we were on to something.

We wanted to think of a way to bring this experience to other families who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to do this. We wanted to be the ones who could offer this experience as it was offered to us. We don't think our friends know how meaningful that experience was for our son and our family. We are truly thankful for them from the bottom of our hearts.  Now, we hope to have the opportunity to pay this experience forward to other families.

Our non profit organization will be an organization that provides children with special needs and their family with the opportunity to access the experience of the "calm" the water has to offer. Our family has recently purchased a boat that we hope to put to good use by bringing families out on the lake for a fun filled day. We would like to offer a nice, calming, therapeutic ride for the parents and their children or even a chance at some water sports such as tubing, wake-boarding, water skiing and water surfing, whichever is desired. Also, due to children with special needs and the high risk of water related incidents, we hope to incorporate a water safety lesson with each experience.

Right now, this is just our dream that we hope can become a reality and grow into something amazing. We hope to raise enough funds to help with legal costs associated with creating the non profit organization and help as many families as possible. If we are lucky enough to reach our goal, all funds left over after attorney fees will be transferred to the non profit to immediately benefit the children and their families.

From our family to yours, we thank you for this opportunity and are dedicated to making this dream become a reality.



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Daniel Mehlhouse 
Webster, MA
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