Read My Full Story Below then... Read how Funds will be Used to Support Parents with Autistic Children Ages 2-3 with Early Diagnosis, Early Intervention, and Early Acceptance!
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting my GoFundMe profile. My name is Chris Record and I'm a parent of a child with autism (Reston featured above).
When my son was 2 years old he started regressing. He lost his speech, his eye contact, his social skills, he stopped playing with other kids, you know the rest.
I didn't know what Autism was. My pediatrician said that this was normal and to let some time go by to see if he gets past this phase.
After a few more months I just felt like something wasn't right. I stayed up all night researching these symptoms and came across Autism. This was my first time learning about this.
After hours of researching I was able to find a test that you could take online as a parent to identify what symptoms your child might have and see if they are on the Autism Spectrum.
I took the test. The results were not good. To be honest this scared me very much. I didn't know anything about Autism, and I didn't know if there was a solution, a cure, any treatment, or anything. I panicked and I stayed up all night without sleeping.
We took our son to a doctor who diagnosed him professionally using a standardized test.
Our doctor shared that there was no known cure for autism but that it was the most common question asked by parents of children who were newly diagnosed with autism. This was back in 2013 when there were just a few main classifications on the Autism spectrum that he shared with us.
He shared that our son was diagnosed on the severe side of the spectrum, but that he showed some potential (he was able to put square blocks into square holes and circle blocks into circle holes) so he suggested that we move quickly with early intervention therapy and he recommended a few places for us to contact.
We contacted neurologists, therapists, counselors, doctors, pediatricians, youu name it. I'm sure other parents can relate to this phase when you first find out your child has autism. We were scrambling for ideas of what to do because as parents you always want to do the best job possible for your kids. This was something new for us so we had to learn as much as possible as fast as possible.
We ended up deciding to go with ABA therapy and speech therapy. We researched and found a local organization that would bring 2 people per day to our house and do in-home therapy for our son. It was a little expensive outside of what insurance would cover, but at that point there was no cost we were unwilling to pay for a chance to help our child.
For roughly 30-40 hours per week they came to our house, worked through progress books, journals, took extensive notes, gave us resources, taught us ways to work well with our Autistic child, and educated us on everything. It was an intense experience, but overall we are so glad that we dedicated that year to it full time.
Finally our son started regaining his speech, learning some behavioral skills, and showing incredible improvement. We were able to get him into a mixed class, half autistic and half typical kids, and after 2 years the doctor re-diagnosed him as a high functioning autistic.
I love my son. I love his autism. I want the best life possible for him. There is only so much I can do as a parent, but I'm dedicated to giving him the best life possible.
I'm blessed to be in a career that is financially rewarding, so that I've been able to take care of all my son's needs financially, and to be able to spend quality time with him to build our father-son relationship.
But unfortunately there are many parents out there that do NOT have the same financial resources.
Over the past 5 years I've spoken with countless parents raising autistic children, as well as countless autistic adults, in an effort to identify how I can help and what impact I can best make.
As far as a cure, or treatments, or anything of that nature, that is way out of my league. I'm just a dad. Leave that to neurologists and doctors who spend their lives studying causes and solutions. And the truth is there may never be a cure.
On top of that, many adults with autism don't mind if there is never a cure because they have found a way to function in society and autism is who they are.
But there are also many autistic adults who have voiced that they hope that something can be done in the future to figure out the cause, and to potentially prevent autism from happening in severe ways, as it has often lead to self-harm and not being able to function in society on your own.
Overall the feedback across the board has been different and nobody has a fix-all solution.
So here is what I've decided to focus on.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Parents with children ages 2-3 that are diagnosed with autism on the severe side of the spectrum who can greatly benefit from in-home ABA and speech therapy similar to what we went through.
RESOURCES: Provide them with resources to take home-tests to self diagnose their childs situation, and then resources to get in touch with a medical professional who can perform a proper diagnosis. As well as resources online that they can research to learn more about autism awareness and acceptance.
SOLUTIONS: Provide these families with tools for Early Diagnosis, Early Intervention, and Early Acceptance. I believe that if they can get a professional diagnosis while their child is young, they can see the best results through intervention therapies.
OUTREACH: I'll be using Facebook Ads to reach parents in these demographics. I've been a top Facebook Advertiser since 2013 so I feel this is the greatest strength I can bring to the table. I understand keyword targeting, intersecting interests, and how to reach this target audience.
ORGANIZATIONS: I have a list of great organizations to get resources from, including some given to me by high functioning autistic adults, where their input is very involved, getting ideas and resources directly from the source. I won't be focusing on vaccinations or alternative treatments, but rather staying very specific with the focus here.
OUTCOME: To identify familes that meet this criteria and to do our best to provide them with resources to help them make progress with their child using early intervention. Also to help them quickly get to the phase of unconditional love and acceptance of autism.
FUNDING: No funds will go to me or my family. My son is now 7 years old. He is far past the 2-3 year old phase. And we've already invested 6-figures of our own monehy into resources for him. Our family is covered. The funds will go towards outreach and solutions for other families who fit our criteria (children 2-3 years old who are diagnosed with autism on the severe side of the spectrum who can greatly benefit from in-home ABA and speech therapy). I'll be donating significantly out of my own pocket to this campaign, and so will several of my friends who have done well financially.
SOCIAL MEDIA: I'll be documenting this journey on my social media stories (specifically Instagram) so if you want to follow along my life, I share my travels, my business events, my charity work, and even my kids. As families are identifies I'll be sharing behind the scenes as we help them (with their permission) and I often ask my social media following for feedback on how to help along the way as well. Just follow me on IG @chrisrecord.
Your donation today can make a HUGE difference, even if you only helped us reach ONE family with these resources. That alone would be worth it! But we believe we can reach hundreds if we can all team up to make this a reality.
Thank you in advance for your support in this project, and for your support with Autism Awareness Month!
We would also appreciate if you would share the music video that I made about finding out that my son had autism . Share it on social media and TAG any parents you know that have special needs children. Let's spread the word and make a difference in lives together!
Father of a 7yr old with Autism
P.S. - Many autistic adults have reached out and said that they are on a mission to reduce the use of the word "disease" and "cure". So in our mission we will also reduce the use of this word even though medical professionals have used it. We listen and appreciate the feedback that we receive along the way, so we will reduce the use of these terms and focus more on love and acceptance of all autistic people through our journey.
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