A few years ago, Mallory and I invited families and autistic individuals to share their experiences in the form of two books. A few things came from that book experience, including some incredible growth in our community:
- Mallory said, “I’d like to create a place where families can get treatment all in one location.” As Mallory and I continued to meet professionals, shop for office space, and create programming, we did indeed create a space where families can get many of their needs met. We now have 9 (!) professionals in our office suite, including Dr. Hecker, Andrea Holt, Dr. Colorosa, Emily Daniels, Dr. LaCount, Mallory Griffith, Jennifer Woodard, Dr. Knauf, and me. (Whew! That is a ton of education, years of experience, and diversity of modalities represented on that list!!)
- From our office suite, a number of innovative programs have been created:
- Emily Daniels runs the annual Fort Collins Autism Resource Fair
- Drs. Colorosa, Knauf, and Hecker run a group for young adults
- An absurd number of articles have been written for the Autism Parenting Mag
- There have been a handful of international presentations (thanks, zoom!)
- Perhaps most importantly, it has been long enough that some of the contributors to those two books have circled back around with life updates. Some updates, obscuring identifying data, of course:
- Students have graduated from high school/college, and landed cool jobs
- People married, got puppies
- People who swore they would never date are considering dating, or are dating/partnered
- Teens have moved out of the family home, learned to drive, gone to college/jobs
- People are increasingly seeing their strengths, and deciding how to use them
- When I reflect on my professional career, the highlights include the trust people have put in me (which is incredible!), and providing the opportunity for people to share their voices and experiences with others via books, programming, and finding each other in a healthy, neurodiverse affirming manner.
Thank you, Mallory, for agreeing to the crazy idea to write to books, and simultaneously suggesting that we grow our tiny circle into a larger community of support. You rock.