As a mother of a son that is on the autism spectrum, I hold a special place in my heart for organizations that help children and families effected by autism and other special needs disorders. That why when recently, an organization called the Orange Effect Foundation was brought to my attention by Gail Hoffer-Loibl of Maybe I’ll Shower Today, and founder of Blogging for Better, I was very intrigued. The Orange Effect Foundation was created by Joe and Pam Pulizzi, whose young son Joshua was diagnosed with moderate ASD and was also nonverbal in his young life, as a way to combat those children that cannot afford or receive speech services that they need early on in life in order to learn the skills they need to possibly speak one day.
My own son Liam, had difficulty speaking early on in his life. He received speech therapy from the time he was a year and a half. With each passing month, my husband and I rejoiced as Liam began to speak new word after new word. Of course, this was not without struggles and fallbacks. Liam fought hard between meltdowns and worked everyday to complete his speech therapy. He had amazing speech therapists that helped Liam achieve these milestones. We also worked aggressively with him at home, by modeling proper use of words and reading him books to help him learn new words.
I’m happy to say that today, at 6 years old, Liam is carrying on full conversations and often brings up things we wouldn’t have thought about. His unique mind allows him to visualize the world in a different way, and with the help of all the speech therapy he has received, he is able to verbalize those ideas to his outside world. He is now reading at a grade level ahead, he is teaching his younger brother new concepts and ideas, and carrying on conversations with him is one of my most favorite things because there was a time I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen.
I can truly relate to the struggle that Joshua and his family went through in his younger years because my son and family also walked this path. It is a battle that only those that have walked through can really understand.
Imagining the inability for my child to receive the speech services he needed to learn the skills he would need to talk to his outside world, is very scary as a parent. That’s why the Orange Effect Foundation is so necessary and needed. It provides “children with speech disorders the ability to receive the therapy and technology they need” (Orange Effect Foundation).
If you can, please spread the word about this amazing organization and even better, donate to it to help provide much needed services to children with speech disorders, like Joshua and Liam once had, and other like them struggle with right now.