Drew Wilson Autism Social Spies

Marla Wilson has been raising her grandson since he was four years old.  He was just diagnosed with high performance autism about 18 months ago.  He has been having therapy and treatment and was fortunate enough to be extended the opportunity to participate in Social Spies with Cleveland Clinic.  It is 18 weeks of therapeutic sessions for Drew and a parent session for Marla.  At the end, there is a six week therapeutic camp where the skills he is learning are reinforced with his team.  I have a letter from Cleveland Clinic with the data that shows how effective this has been on the children who have participated to improve social skills, which for Drew, impacts his education.

Originally, there was knowledge about grants to assist families with the payment.  After several months, four applications and numerous emails to other organizations, Marla has been denied even though she is on disability and a single grandmother (versus two income families who are getting grant approval).

While digging more into other grant opportunities, the fact that Drew is on Medicaid, due to having no medical insurance, for some reason, this penalizes him from submitting some grant requests.

Marla is very resistant to a GoFundMe.  Marla has sacrificed  for years, going without medical treatment, glasses she has needed, hair cuts, etc. to keep Drew active as is required with his diagnosis.  His sports and Taekwondo all assist with focus, peers, and getting the energy out of him daily which allows him to function with not only autism but ADHD and anxiety.  We are especially grateful for all the opportunities that that he has had through the hockey community which has offset those costs.

Marla will be able to qualify for some money with Cleveland Clinic in March for grandparents but it will not be the entire amount.  Drew needs $5,300 for this six week therapeutic camp for Social Spies.  

Marla is constantly helping others and now she needs help with this very important need for Drew.  I have emailed and submitted letters from teachers, physicians and friends on their behalf to back up his need for this program.   

We have already missed two deadlines for deposits in November and another coming up in January.  I am still hopeful something will break through but when the organizations we are contacting are suggesting a GoFundMe for them, I am not sure how much success we will have with the grant community.  It is almost like he has a strike against him for being on Medicaid.

One of the things that Marla does not want is for anyone to think that being in hockey and Taekwondo is frivolous and wonder why am I asking for help for Drew.  The truth is that she has scraped, saved and deprived herself of so much the last seven years to make sure Drew has what he needs.  I can assure there is no excess available.  

Thank you for your consideration and if you cannot help and want to share this, we would be most grateful.

Janet Graff


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Janet Graff 
North Ridgeville, OH
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