So often society “labels” people who are different from the “norm” whatever the “norm” is. Children in particular experience life having been put in the proverbial boxes through no fault of their own. In many cases they become stigmatized and their development becomes restricted to the point they are unable to socialize with their peers or others.
Many children with autism are actually very smart and gifted but lack the ability to fully express themselves. This is very often misinterpreted as being backward or lazy when in fact the reality is, they are geniuses in disguise. An Undeveloped Talent Is Systematically Misunderstood! (Autism)
The Autism Foundation of Tampa Bay was established in August 2011 to educate and bring awareness regarding the complex and often misguided spectrum. One of the Founders, Gloria Durojaiye, who has an autistic son and a healthcare background, saw the need following her fight to get the help she longed for.
“Every step was hindered from the age of two” she recalled, “with eleven different providers and evaluations before any trace of intervention”. She continued, “By aged three he was thrown in the public school system which was extremely challenging”. Gloria felt abandoned and left to fend for herself having sought assistance from the education department, doctors and even family. She acknowledged “I had no choice but to call on God”. And that’s when help came.
Co-founder, Lydia James, who had a heart for children with special needs, and a desire to start a foundation for autism, met with Gloria in 2006. Lydia was motivated by the popular song called ‘I Refuse’ where the lyrics affirm, ‘I don’t want to wait for someone else, to do what God has called me to do myself …”
The two, together with Gloria’s husband, jointly agreed that something had to be done in the Tampa area. During the summer their passion grew stronger until their resolve to start the organization resulted in the incorporation of the not for profit concern in August 2011.
Pastor Mike Mielke at Wilderness Lake Church, Land O Lakes, generously donated the use of the premises for the Foundation events and there has also been great support from the local community.
The mission of The Autism Foundation is to educate parents and caregivers of children with Autism; empower the individuals to speak up for the special need children and provide respite for these families. To help facilitate this, monthly support group meetings will be provided by local experts. The first meeting was scheduled for November 14, 2011 at 6:30pm and will be held at Wilderness Lakes Church, Land O Lakes.
Their Formal Inaugural Fundraising Dinner was held at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club Ballroom on Friday Nov 4th, 2011 from 7pm to 11pm. All proceeds from this formal dinner reception benefitted local children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
For further information and details on how to become involved please contact the Autism Foundation on (813) 996-6421 or browse the web site at http://autismfoundationoftampabay.org/home .