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Oct 12, 2018

Our Daughters Graduation

Isabella Paul, Cristie’s mother:

 Baptism, first day of school, first communion, fifteen years, eighteen years, graduation…these are all milestones in the life of our children that thrill us and make us feel proud. But also, as parents we imagine what those moments will be like and we make up stories that include our own dreams and illusions about the way we’d like our children to grow. That’s why each one of those milestones with Cristina, my oldest child who has severe autism, has been very difficult. It’s meant going back to the diagnostic, to the differences, to what isn’t, to what she hasn’t, and what she can’t experience.

 For more than three years I’ve been preparing for her eighteenth birthday and the end of her school life. The most frequent feelings were fear, impotence, anguish, uncertainty. By all accounts, children are supposed to become more independent after graduation, and we, as parents begin to have less responsibilities, although no less distress. In the case of a child with severe autism, it’s the other way around as when he/she leaves school the support and affection she received from everyone is gone overnight. Impossible not to be afraid…

 Friday, July 13 was Cristina’s last day of school. I woke up crying. The day I had feared so much had finally arrived. We were invited to the school for a “small farewell act”. With a wild mix of emotions I dressed smartly and went with her. What a pleasant surprise awaited us! The school had prepared a spectacular graduation act, with cap and gown, wonderful words by the school board, the staff, and one student…and Cristie. Her classmates were overwhelmed with emotion. They felt it was a super important day and behaved accordingly, parading to receive their medal and diploma, and posing readily for the photos; they were all overjoyed. All my previous feelings were transformed into happiness, affection, hope, excitement, pride. What a wonderful lesson it was!

At present I’m still not sure what I’m going to do though…but I’m going on ahead with the certainty that things will work out fine, that Cristie can handle anything…that she came to this world to teach me the values of perseverance. She had the graduation with which she had dreamed…thanks to everyone who made it possible.

 Arianette Salinas, Maria Laura’s mother:

 Last July 13, and after eighteen years of learning, we held her hand and closed a cycle, Maria Laura graduated!

 That’s the dream every parent holds dear, to see one’s daughter graduate from school became a reality. A dream we had given up on, that we put aside and that we didn’t dare dream because when you have a child with a special condition those moments in life we’re familiar with become blurred, invisible and unattainable.

 Maria Laura’s graduation with her six classmates reaffirms the faith that has accompanied us from the very first day of her life. Now we’re setting off on a new adventure, that of adult life; we’ll open new doors to a future laden with uncertainties, but also with the anticipation of new experiences and challenges to overcome, strengthened in our love of family and our profound faith.

 Thanks ever so much to all those who have contributed to making this day happen, especially to those professionals at Cepia and Autism en Voz Alta who with their care, patience an powerful commitment carry out the difficult task of helping us discover and understand that human potential has no limits.

Jul 18, 2018

Celebrating the 2018 graduating class - Thank you

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

As we celebrated the class of 2018, our principal used Goethe's words to remind us that how we approach and treat our students defines who they become.

The 2018 class has taught us how, they have inspired us, and have guided us. Our teaching framework is their legacy. Our programs have grown with them.

We join them in expressing our profound gratitude. You, our donors, sponsors and friends have made Autismo en Voz Alta possible. You are responsible for 12 years of GREAT IMPACT, 12 years of ACHIEVEMENTS, building, creating, innovating, inspiring and multiplying with a 45% increase in the number of families we assist today.

Your financial support, your presence at our events, your willingness to spread the word and to get to know us, is what allows us to continue ahead.

We invite you to continue being part of Autismo en Voz Alta, a shining example that only in union, contributing to the extent of your possibilities and capabilities, is it possible to face and address any challenge that may arise.

THANK YOU for trusting us, THANK YOU for investing in our future.

 

May 10, 2018

A story of love, resilience and determination

Por ellos y para ellos
Por ellos y para ellos

I can’t find any food, I don’t have electricity, there’s no public transportation, I can’t find any medicines, my salary isn’t sufficient….I can’t find…I don’t have. Those are the topics of conversation in our homes, among friends, among colleagues.

For the truth is that TODAY in Venezuela the humanitarian crisis and the economic collapse have taken over our conversations, and dictate our decisions individually, and collectively.

So what decision have we made in Autismo en Voz Alta? We’ve decided to continue to work so that the knowledge and expertise we have amassed during these last twelve years will go on serving the autism community in our country. Every time a child with autism learns a skill he becomes more autonomous, and his family and the community benefit from it; that is our contribution to the country.

We are very grateful and proud to report that our 107 students are performing according to their needs and developmental objectives. Our 60 direct employees and our volunteers are very satisfied with the organizational environment, the parents are delighted with their children’s progress, and we continue to provide a monthly average of 25 assesments, and 100 hours of therapy. We are operating at full capacity and there are no vacancies.

This is a true reflection of our determination to continue creating opportunities, building a future, and nurturing the hopes and wishes of each child, adolescent and family that comes knocking at our doors.

Thus, we continue to write this story of love, resilience and determination which came to life on April 2005, sitting around a family meal, when Isabella, my sister, told us with tears in her eyes that Cristi, her beautiful daughter with autism needed special education not available in the country.

All of us at Autismo en Voz Alta are very grateful for the opportunity we’ve had of being part of this amazing story. In our classrooms you can breathe love, commitment and respect. Our community transmits and lives with optimism; whenever an obstacle arises, it transforms it in an opportunity worth pursuing.

You, our donors, sponsors and friends have made Autismo en Voz Alta possible. You are responsible for 12 years of GREAT IMPACT, 12 years of ACHIEVEMENTS building, creating, innovating, inspiring and multiplying with a 45% increase in the number of families we assist today.

Your financial support, your presence at our events, your willingness to spread the word and to get to know us, is what allows us to continue ahead.

We invite you to continue being part of Autismo en Voz Alta, a shining example that only in unison, contributing to the extent of our possibilities and abilities, is it possible to face and address any challenge that may arise.

THANK YOU for trusting us, THANK YOU for investing in our future.

 
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