Autism on the Seas for Lauren

Please meet my daughter Lauren. She will be 21 Oct 5 and she is autistic and requires 24/7 care. Right now she is attending her last year of school before transitioning into her adult life. Because of her autism it has been difficult over her lifetime to do normal family things like going out to eat or vacations. Even a trip to the grocery store can be a traumatic experience for her due to extreme sensitivity to noises. Overstimulation in crowds is another issue. And unfortunately society is what it is....very unaware and doesn't understand autism. It is not children misbehaving or spoiled brats that need discipline. It is a neurologic condition that needs to be understood because unfortunately it is an epidemic. When  Lauren was diagnosed at the age of 3 it was 1:166 births. Now it is in 1:68 of births.Therapies and constant routine is a must for children on the spectrum. When she transitions to adult life she will be placed in residential or a group home setting to continue to grow and florish. That will be extremely hard on both of us.  I am trying to raise money so that I can take my daughter Lauren on a cruise...a dream vacation. A vacation that she has never been on in her lifetime. A vacation where she will be seen as a beautiful young woman and not someone with a disability. It is a cruise specialized for children and adults on the autism spectrum. All staff are people who have been trained or who are completing degrees in behavioral therapy, child development and special education. These cruises also provide a minimum of 3:1 ratio of staff support and even offer 1:1 staff support. The staff also provide the much needed respite for the parent of special needs children/adults.This cruise is beneficial to her self confidence and feeling of self worth...It also offers me the opportunity to recieve a much need break from the constant care and the piece of mind knowing she is in capable hands and relax for once in her life time.  This cruise offers opportunities for the special person to experience things that normally are not an option for a family vacation. And more importantly to enjoy these things without judgement from the society that can be so cruel and not so understanding. They offer a very structured vacation schedule which is full of fun activities. This trip will not come cheap. the cost of her ticket alone is $2500.00 .I am trying to raise enough for her ticket and trying to save for my own . but $5000 in my eyes is well worth the experience that she will have enjoying a week of her life not being judged by the world. The Autism on the Seas website offers financial aid but unfortunately is unable to help every family wanting to give their loved one this experience. Please feel free to look at the website itself and consider a small donation to help me acheive this goal. you in advance


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Pixie Thomas 
Leonardtown, MD
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