Progress to Date

Funds Raised 2019: $854

0% of ATPF 2019 Operating Budget

Children Screened: 16,746

Cara Lucier

Cara Lucier

Autism Tree Project Foundation is an extraordinary non-profit organization that is providing indispensable services and support for the Autism community in San Diego County and beyond.

Autism Tree Project Foundation is providing much needed services in San Diego County in several crucial areas: Preschool Screening, Parent Mentoring, and Autism Research. I have had the privilege to partner with Autism Tree Project Foundation through my capacity as a Staff Attorney (previously) and faculty (current) at the University of San Diego, Compass Family Center. As a parent of a child with Autism, I have also benefited directly from their work in the community.

One of the best aspects of Autism Tree Project Foundation's work in the Autism community is that it produces "ripple effects" of education, support, and advocacy in our community. It reaches many more families and professionals than just those families and organizations it works with directly. For example, Autism Tree Project Foundation provides Preschool Screenings in our community preschools to help children that are at risk for Autism or communication delays.

 

Additionally, as part of these screenings Autism Tree Project Foundation provides training and support for the staff of the private preschools who participate. My son, Ian, was not identified through an Autism Tree Project Foundation Preschool Screening. However, the summer he turned three years old we found that we needed to place him in a private preschool for the summer because the school district was not providing him appropriate services. It was a critical time in his development and he needed to be around typically developing peers. Unfortunately, many private preschools are unwilling or unable to include children with Autism. However, because Autism Tree Project Foundation has been in private preschools education staff about Autism there are now preschools in San Diego that have an understanding of Autism and are not afraid to include our children. We placed our son in a program that had participated in the Autism Tree Project Foundation Preschool Screenings and were very pleased that the staff had been trained to understand and include our son in their program. As a parent, I am very grateful to Autism Tree Project Foundation for its work in private preschools.

Autism Tree Project Foundation also provides a "ripple effect" through its Mentoring Program. I participated in the Mentoring Program when my son Ian was newly diagnosed. I left the event with information, support, and most importantly, the realization that my family was not alone in our journey through Autism. As a professional in the community and a parent I have continued to attend the Mentoring Event as a Mentor to other families. Dayna and Todd Hoff are very thoughtful in how they structure the Mentoring events. They invite the Mentors to arrive early to network with each other. Through these events I have developed relationships with other professionals in the Autism community and we frequently call each other for assistance and support. This has been of great benefit to my clients, who are primarily families of children with Autism who need help with accessing services from their schools districts and Regional Centers.

Todd and Dayna Hoff are what make Autism Tree Project Foundation so extraordinary. They are warm, loving, and understanding. They support all families in their path. 

 

Sincerely,

Cara Lucier, Esq.