Posted by: Autism Speaks | February 22, 2010

Los Angeles Kick-Off Inspires Many

On February 21 the Los Angeles Chapter held its kick-off with over 200 people in attendance. One portion of the program involved four parents sharing their personal stories: Kim, Kevin, Jess and Holly.

Kim talked about the importance of early intervention.  She and her husband have seen great progress in their son’s development because they knew that getting him help immediately was critical. They began noticing warning signs at their son’s birthday party and friends were brave enough to say something. It has made a world of difference.

Kevin expressed the challenges and frustration of finding adult services for his 19-year-old son. While many children improve, that’s not always the case and his son needed a different living situation. Putting him in a group home was a difficult decision but one that has shown to be the right choice and has taken Ryan to a better level and a happier place.

Jess spoke of community. When her son was diagnosed she felt very alone. Connecting with Autism Speaks has given her an extended circle of friends who share many of her joys and difficulties. There are new people in her life to comfort her.

Holly ended with a note of hope. Life with a husband whose job required him to spend time away from the family almost ended their marriage.  He was distant – both literally and figuratively – and extremely disconnected to the serious issue tearing apart the family.  But he eventually came around and saw that he had to be part of the solution and they needed to be on this journey together.

We also shared their ideas of how to fundraise from car washes to bake sales to collecting coins to selling puzzle pieces.  Big and little ideas that all carried a similar theme: do something you love for someone you love.

After the event was over a walker came up and asked if we had information in Spanish. She had brought a friend who didn’t speak much English and whose son had been diagnosed 12 months ago and still felt lost. I was  happy to say, “Yes, we have resources.  For example, our 100 Day Kit is available for free in Spanish.” I gave her the address on our website and told her to download a copy. She was very appreciative that help was available.

Taking down the decorations and cleaning up the room did not diminish the overwhelming sense of enthusiasm. We achieved our objective:  having people leave with a sense of optimism, hope and excitement. I have no doubt they will carry that feeling for the next two months until Walk day.

For more pictures of the Los Angeles Kick-Off event, click here.



  1. hello my name is felicia and i would love to have more information on walks that are in the california area. i seem to keep missing them and would love to get more involved we have a teenage boy that has autism and would love to get the word out about this thing called autism so people will know how to handle such wonderful people of the world.

    • Felicia,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! We have many Walks in the California area where your support would be greatly appreciated. Please go to to see which Walk is closest to you. Thanks again! Patty

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