I will be walking for my cousin Natalie and for autism. This story about her was written by my Aunt Jessie.
We were first time parents to a beautiful little girl. My grandfather called her Happy and the name fit. She had a talent for winking. As she grew, her vocabulary didn't. She had a few words at a time and then would lose them. She received early intervention for speech. We decided to get her evaluated for the purpose of being able to receive services. We weren't really sure she had autism but figured it couldn't hurt to get evaluated since we knew she needed support. Natalie was diagnosed with autism on January 31, 2020. We were navigating what this meant and what we needed to do and then covid arrived. It's been a chaotic few years as it has been for everyone.
Luckily, Natalie has been able to attend school in an autism classroom which includes speech and OT along with getting ABA services in-home during the last year.
We are also lucky to have a family who loves Natalie and is willing to help in any way, whether that's to do an autism walk, do research or offer to give us a break when needed.
To this day, she still fluctuates with having a few words at times but overall is non-verbal. She now has an aac device which she uses to communicate with us. We are still learning how to best support her so she feels loved and accepted and is also able to communicate and gain independence.
Natalie loves water, bubbles, jumping, babies (especially her sisters) and her pets. She is extremely intelligent and likes to do things her way. She is an amazing little girl.
I am walking to help spread awareness of the beauty of autism.
Our team name is #HappyNat in honor of our beautiful, life loving girl, Natalie. Thank you!
This year, I will join the entire Eagles organization and thousands of others from the community in participating in the Eagles Autism Challenge. This transformational event is committed to funding innovative autism research and care programs with the goal of advancing scientific breakthroughs. Every dollar of participant-raised funds will go directly towards the Eagles Autism Foundation, as together we take action for autism, not only in Philadelphia, but around the world. I hope you will consider making a donation towards my fundraising goal to help make a difference in the autism community. Thank you!