Stories From the Heart: Educating and Empowering Myself and Others

My three year old son, Tafari, has come a long way since he was diagnosed with Autism in early 2009. Though I do give myself credit for his development and progress, I give even more credit to the similar families in the Autism community who have helped us along the way. I believe that many parents dealing with Autism become so riddled by isolation, which they forget to realize that there are many other families in our situation who are dealing with similar issues and our willing to hear our voices and concerns.

I am always at my computer, and I am always looking for different resources to further my education and help my son. About a year ago, I stumbled upon an online community that had just launched and was starting to build a name in the Autism community. I was intrigued, because it was a social network a bit like Facebook, but it was only for parents and families that have children with Autism. I quickly got involved in the website,  and today I have strong relationships with thousands of mothers, fathers, and specialists in the Autism community.

I run several groups at, including Single Parents and Low Income Families on the Spectrum, and I feel blessed to share my experience with those who can relate to what I am going through. I also get a ton of support from the resources section of the site as well. It allows me to search for all kinds of Autism resources (therapists, schools, advocacy, summer camps, etc.) within my city and any other cities in the United States.

Through, I was even able to find a special needs lawyer that has helped my son get the rights he deserves in IEP meetings. I had been looking for something like for a while and I really wanted to share it with everybody. I really believe that we can all come together and make the global Autism online support system.

I was one of the first few members to sign up to last fall, and since then I have developed a friendship with the site creators, Dele Popoola and Greg Koltsov. Dele has a 19 year old cousin on the Autism spectrum, and he knows very well how difficult it can be to raise a child on the Autism spectrum, especially a single parent like myself. Both Dele and Greg knew that Tafari could benefit from speech therapy, and knew that I wasn’t doing very well financially.

They were generous enough to put together a gala fundraiser and were able to rise over $3,000 dollars to help fund Tafaris speech therapy! I feel so blessed and so fortunate for the work that they have done for me and the Autism community, and I encourage all others in the Autism community to find a home at like I did.

By Jane Tipton

* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.



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