2017 Hope Gala

Autism can sometimes be devastatingly dark ... but we are determined to bring light through our range of services. To fund these services, we rely on generous people like the 530 who attended our Evening of Hope gala on Saturday. Want to see what these dollars are important?  Take a look:

Wofford College Turns Blue for Autism

The main building at Wofford College turns blue for autism.

The main building at Wofford College turns blue for autism.

(March 29, 2017 FOX Carolina)
Wofford College is turning blue and shining a light on autism. It's all part of the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign.
Wofford's Main Building will be lit in blue starting on April 2 for World Autism Awareness Day, and stay that way throughout April for Autism Awareness Month.
"This is something that is near and dear to my heart. I felt compelled to bring it to Wofford as I am an autism parent," said Crystal Crawford, who organized Light It Up Blue on the Wofford campus.
Crystal Crawford's son was diagnosed with autism five years ago. 
"We have a son named Will who is about to turn 9 who was diagnosed with autism when he was 4," said Crawford. 
Crawford works in admissions at Wofford College and says she hopes to raise awareness about autism, by shedding some blue light on the disorder. 
"My hopes are that people will ask questions and inquire about what is it, what does it mean for a college student here on campus, and how can I better serve or communicate with them," said Crawford.
Guest speakers addressed the need for raising awareness about autism on college campuses.
"I think we need to bring a lot more attention to our friends with autism who are older and who are in the college setting," said Joanna Hayes, a case supervisor with Project Hope Foundation.
Students also talked about what it is like to be in college and have autism.
"90% of learning to live with autism is probably just learning to recognize it for what it is," said Zachary Howell, a sophomore studying intercultural studies at Wofford.
Howell says that part of learning to live with autism is educating others, and he hopes the Light It Up Blue campaign will do just that.
Find out more about the Light It Up Blue campaign here
Copyright 2017 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

What gift do I give a family raising a child with autism?

Holidays can be especially challenging for these families. Parents may struggle to muster excitement about shopping for a child who will refuse to open the present. They often spend their large family gatherings tucked away in a solitary room with a child who can’t tolerate the crowd. They may mourn the fact that their child won’t be sitting on Santa’s lap … or participating in a school program … or whispering with siblings about what presents await.

So what do you get this family?

For 50¢, you could send a note of encouragement to the parents. Let them know that you care. Mention any progress you have seen – a fleeting smile, better eye contact, more intelligible words.

For $5, you could deliver a fancy cup of coffee to a weary mom. Many children with autism are unable to sleep through the night; consequently, their parents are generally sleep-deprived.

For $50, you could fill up their car with gas. Children with autism often have therapy schedules that require frequent trips all over town. Their families frequently pay for these therapies out-of-pocket.

For $500, you could buy an iPad (a great “go-in” opportunity). This device is worth its weight in gold for children with autism. Tremendous apps are available - flashcards, educational games, entertainment options, even whole communication systems. 

Whatever the amount you can spend, your gesture will be appreciated!