According to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of children and youth categorized with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) appears to be on the rise, affecting 1 of every 68 children in US. However, there is increasing evidence that participation of children and youth with ASD in leisure activities is limited in comparison to their typically developing peers.
But, there is one child who is not allowing her diagnosis to keep her from doing what she loves: Jenny. She is eight years old and loves gymnastics.
Since Jenny’s autism diagnosis, Leslie and her husband Sam have tried to keep her life as normal as possible.
“Her dream was to do gymnastics, but we couldn’t afford it,” Sam says. “It nearly broke our hearts when we told her that we’d have to wait until next year to sign her up.”
United Way of Western Connecticut understands the struggle hard-working families we call ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) face to cover the cost of out-of-school opportunities for their child. United Way’s ALICE Enrichment Fund provides families who fall within the ALICE income category financial subsidies for their children to participate in extracurricular activities.
Through United Way’s ALICE Enrichment Fund, Jenny’s dream came true! The program provided financial assistance towards the gymnastics course that Jenny is taking in Stamford, Connecticut.
“Ever since she started this gymnastics class, she has been much more active and enthusiastic,” says Leslie. “She tells friends and family members how she is doing in this activity.”
“She is so excited about her class that she counts down the number of days and we are so happy because it is helping with her development,” Sam beams with pride. “Thank you to United Way for making it possible for us, as parents, to work towards the dream of helping our daughter’s development.”
United Way is committed to ensuring that every child in every community we serve is healthy, strong and has every opportunity to excel. To learn more about the ALICE Enrichment Fund, please visit: https://www.uwwesternct.org/aliceenrichmentfund