James' Autism Therapy Fund

$3,580 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 30 months

In August 2012 our son, James, was diagnosed with classic autism. His recommended treatment was 35-40 hours of instensive in-home therapy, called Applied Behavior Analysis (or ABA), which can cost between $40,000-$60,000 a year. This therapy is not covered by our health insurance so our little family has had to pay for James' therapy out of our own pocket.

For the past the past two years, through hard work, our family, friends, fundraisers and our savings we have been able to provide James with this therapy. Recently we have run out of all of our resources. We have no savings, no assests to take a loan out against and we have maxed out our credit cards.

When James started therapy two years ago he was basically non-verbal, only speaking 4 words. We can now hold a semi-conversation with him. It's hard but we are able to help him express himself. So much so that we've been able to send him to a private pre school with normal children (he is accompanied with a therapist to help him learn how to behave in social situations). But we don't know how much longer he'll be able to enjoy this opportunity for education because the tuition has been increased.

Two years ago James couldn't say my name and now he can call for me in the middle of the night if he has a bad dream. This is one of the things that ABA has been able to teach James. 

It's one of the hardest things to see James make these huge strides and advancements but know that within the next couple months those strides may end. That is why we are hoping that with the help of some beautiful and generous souls we can keep James going and become everything he can be.



Throughout our journey I have been able to keep a couple blog posts about what we have gone through with James, The Heuer Family (I don't post very often). We are working so hard and trying to see the positive in everything.

"Our little family. I may not have a house to call home but I do have these three people who give me a home."

We want to thank you for reading our story. We have gratitude from the bottom of our hearts for people out there who care, even if you can't donate. Your thoughts enrich our lives. 

-The Heuer Family
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Update 7
Posted by Ginger Heuer
19 months ago
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Hello Everyone,

Kindergarten has started and school has finally settled down enough for me to start to gather my thoughts and feelings about everything that has been happening in our lives.

School. We won our appeal and James was granted an IEP. We were also able to have James and his twin sister Lily get a spot in the local charter school's kindergarten. The school has been wonderful. James was placed in a classroom with a teacher who has previously had autistic students and has even been trained in ABA techniques. The school has also provided a full time, in classroom aide for James.

James has done well. Life will always have challenges. The first week of school was a little rocky because James wasn't engaging with the other kids. It turns out James had taken my "Don't Talk to Strangers" lecture too seriously. We've talked with James and he's doing better at interacting with the other kids. And, of course, academically he is doing phenomenally.

At the beginning of September we were able to participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2015. James loved it. Our team name was "Walking For James" and the shirts that we all wore said "I'm walking for James," but James' shirt just said, "I'm James." He thought it was great and was so happy that so many people were there just for him.

We're still working on potty training. James' record is 15 days in a row without an accident. And there have been no accidents at school. We're very proud of James and our fingers are crossed that with our support and encouragement he will keep doing better and eventually he'll catch on.

Therapy. Unfortunately therapy hasn't been going as well. We've lost 6 therapists in 6 months (mostly due to people moving away or going off to college) and finding new therapists has been a trial. One of the things that you need to find people to work is offer competitive pay which we are unable to do. It seems that no matter the amount of cutting back or budgeting we can't seem to find the money that we need. Right now, today, we're doing good. In three weeks when we lose another therapist I don't know how we're going to be doing. But I do know one thing, thanks to the help of all of our friends and family and anyone who’s followed James on his journey, our heads will be above water, we will be surviving, and for that we are eternally grateful to all of you.

Thank you.
James and Lily in their school uniforms
James at Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2015
James' School Carnival face paint choice
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Update 6
Posted by Ginger Heuer
21 months ago
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Hello Family, Friends and Others wanting to learn more about our son.

I haven't updated in quite a while. James' therapy is still going strong, he's still working hard and we're still barely scraping by.

Recently we've had him evaluated by our school district to see if he qualifies for Special Education. In the cognitive division he doesn't come close. He scored in the 99th percentile on their tests.

However, James is still not potty trained and very awkward in social situations. Because of those things we were hoping for an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) to allow for James to have a shadow in his classroom with him but he was denied services because he's so smart. We are currently appealing the decision.

Hopefully things will work out for the best and James will end up where he needs to be. At least that's what we're praying for.
James on July 4th
Practicing for Itty Bitty T-Ball
James at Easter
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Update 5
Posted by Ginger Heuer
28 months ago
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We have posted a new blog update:
"The Lost, But Not Forgotten, Miracles"
http://blog.heuerfam.com/2014/12/the-lost-but-not-forgotten-miracles.html
My happy twins
Playing games with Grandpa Heuer
Grandma Grawe love
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Update 4
Posted by Ginger Heuer
30 months ago
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You all are helping our family so much ​to ​provide therapy for James​, so​ I thought you might like to know a little more about him.

He loves anything electronic. I'm kind of strict with the iPad otherwise I'm sure he'd be on it all day. He loves Sonic and Angry Birds. But James will always put the iPad down for a bath. His favorite TV show is Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and his favorite bedtime story is The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss.

James isn't a big eater but without fail, James will always eat fruit snacks (Scooby Doo fruit snacks are our go​-​to to get James through church). His other favorites include grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate milk and Lucky Charms.

James is not shy, which is hard for me because I'm one of those people who would like to go to Target, Costco, and Smith's, one right after the other, without having to talk to anybody. Imagine how fun it was when we were at Wal Mart and James started filling up a very understanding woman's shopping cart, heh. James loves going places, mostly Smith's Marketplace because they have corn dogs AND Legos.

He sounds like a pretty normal little boy. Some things do make him stand out though.

James is very smart, during his reassessment last August they told us he was reading up to a 10 year-old level with his reading comprehension at a third grade level (meaning he understands and remembers what he read). One of his most favorite books is the Firefly Junior Illustrated Dictionary. Earlier today James taught me about hockey.

James has ​a shadow that goes with him to pre school. She is there to help him to learn how to focus his attention and complete tasks (and how to resist touching the gummy bears on the teacher's table). His shadow also helps James learn how to respond to social cues. James is not shy, almost to a fault. But he's getting better. Lately, James has ​made some real strides and his shadow has been able to take a few steps back and let him be more independent.

James' speech is behind his peers and sometimes he when he talks it kind of sounds like he has cotton balls in his mouth. One of James' autistic "symptoms" is called echolalia, where he repeats what he hears. Kind of like a parrot, sometimes it's cute but sometimes it's not.

James also has something called developmental dyspraxia, basically it means that he's very clumsy. Yes, he will walk into walls and most of the time we have to prompt him to say "ow" (he's getting better). Sometimes James will slide out of his chair for no reason and sometimes when you're helping him get dressed he'll turn into jell-o and kind of collapse.

James also can't tell us if he's hot or cold. Whether or not he's hungry. If he doesn't feel good and when we know he doesn't feel good he can't tell us how or where it hurts. I haven't had too many, but one of those times that I've cried and said, "I hate autism" was earlier this year when James was in bed and I just happened to hear him puking. I got him out of bed and into the tub. He was shaking and all he could say was, "Help me." James didn't understand why I wasn't filling up the tub, just letting the water go down the drain. He tried to stop it up with his hands but couldn't because I was washing him off. When I finished and wrapped him in the towel he was still shaking and still saying, "Help me." I just held him and we both cried and I apologized because I didn't know how to help him. (The worst part was that Chris was out of town so James didn't have his daddy's big arms to hold him and comfort him.)

So James does have his challenges but he is getting better. I'm lucky because I have Lily (James' twin sister) so I know how high we need to aim. Our family is lucky because we have family, friends, and people we don't even know who care about us and are helping us provide for James. Helping us give James ABA therapy. Helping James so he can tell us when his tummy hurts.

Thank you all.
James playing with Legos
James reading his illustrated dictionary
James writing his own math problems
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$3,580 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 30 months
Created October 12, 2014
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