Eden Autism Day of Giving 2023

APRIL 27, 2023

One day. One big impact.

April 27, 2023 marks Eden Autism’s third annual Day of Giving, an opportunity for the community to come together to support individuals with autism during Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. Our goal this year is to raise $85,000 for children and adults with autism.

Leading up to our Day of Giving, we’ll be celebrating our community by sharing stories from across Eden Autism Services. Join us for this year’s Day of Giving by sharing these stories, sharing your own story, or donating to support children and adults with autism. Every single gift — from $5 to $5,000 — has the power to make a difference.

Day of Giving Challenge

Make a gift on April 27 and double the impact of your donation! To celebrate this year’s Day of Giving, a small group of Eden parents have offered a challenge grant of $25,000! They want to inspire the Eden community to raise $50,000 in one day — April 27.

How to Participate

All you have to do is make a gift of any amount on April 27! Our goal is to raise $50,000 in one day — our highest Day of Giving total to date. The money will go toward our goal of raising $85,000 throughout the month of April.

If you make a gift of any amount to Eden this April before or during the Day of Giving, you will receive an exclusive Eden notebook, featuring artwork from one of the individuals we support! Individuals who donate $150 or more will also receive an Eden picnic blanket.

Gifts will ship in May 2023.

Eden Autism, Day of Giving 2023 Notebook, Artwork by Xander

A Letter from Christine DeHart

Director of Speech and Language Services

Entering the doors of Eden Autism as a new staff member, 23 years ago, I knew this would be the place where I would find my professional home. There was the feeling that each department, each team, worked closely together for a desired end. It was the feeling that we are all focused on each student’s and each adult’s communication to assist them in realizing their potential. Teamwork was the quality that drew me to Eden and the feeling that makes me stay!

When parents ask, “What is it that you do?” I tell them that I have the honor of interacting with their children and determining which system of communication is most appropriate for their needs. This might start out with gestures and simple signs, then move on to verbal approximations, and ultimately verbal language. We might look to an augmentative device like an iPad or the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). We look at the skills required for each system and find one that matches the individual’s.

Over the last several years, we expanded and ensured the continuity of speech services for our adult participants—a population that was underserved by previous funding models. For a variety of reasons, many individuals lacked formal systems of communication.

Therefore, our primary focus is to evaluate and foster each individual’s ability to communicate. We then expand on their ability to be universally understood across settings, especially when engaged in the community. We provide them with pictures, an augmentative device, sign language or verbal language to allow them to have a voice. A voice that needs to be heard.

I remember evaluating an adult participant by utilizing an iPad. His first request was an Oreo. He then took off and made various requests. His smile was infectious as he knew he was being heard and his needs were being met, one Oreo at a time!

We now have a team of six (6) therapists to support the needs of 109 adults. We hope to continue adding individuals to the speech caseload to ensure their communication needs are addressed.

It is incredibly rewarding to see a child or adult communicate spontaneously. The moment they utilize their device, hold up a picture, sign something, or use their voice independently is the breakthrough moment! It is what drives us as therapists. It is what makes the hard work worthwhile. It enables our students and adults to become more independent and this is our ultimate goal.

On behalf of the individuals who I have the honor of working with, I ask that you join me in contributing to Eden’s Day of Giving and support speech and language services at Eden so that each individual can express themselves to the best of their abilities. And, on their behalf, I express my gratitude for your response. If your donation has already been made, thank you.

How Your Donation Will Help

Your support today will help Christine and her team of speech therapists continue to expand their skills in the classroom and out in the community.

Transforming Lives at Eden Autism

At Eden, we help transform the lives of individuals with autism. Every individual, whether child or adult, begins their Eden journey having unique abilities and challenges. With the support of teachers and direct support staff, they develop new skills, gain confidence, and attain more and more independence.
This video shares the transformation of one high school student. Since joining Eden, she has formed close relationships with Eden staff and developed communication skills that have enabled her to lead a more independent life.