Fundraising Gala for Friends of Children with Special Needs South Bay Center, 11/08, Santa Clara Convention Center.
My wife Anna and I were devastated when we learned of the diagnosis around 1993, when he was just 3 years old. He had essentially no language skills, were usually withdrawn to his own world playing with a few select toys, spinning wheels, and lining up items to a perfect straight line. Through countless hours of searching for the most current information, hiring consultants from all over the state, setting up an intensive one-on-one training program, I’m glad to say that Lawrence is now doing well, holds 3 part time jobs and plays saxophone in a band that has been invited to perform internationally. While he may never be “normal” and will likely need support for the rest of his life in some fashion, he fares much better than being institutionalized as most children with autism eventually ended up in the past.
It was during this process of searching for the best treatment that I realized the difficulty for parents facing such predicament. Despite my medical education, good English skills, excellent social network, adequate financial resources, and the most supportive family you can imagine, it was an exhausting 3-4-year struggle. Now, imagine what it would be like for new immigrant families in the same situation – with limited English skills, few families and friends, barely making ends meet with both parents working, and no clue as to how the US social service system works. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO FACE THIS ALONE!
In 1996, a few families with special needs children and kind-hearted community members decided that we can help. Those of us with older children can provide information and point them to the right direction, saving extremely valuable time to get their children into therapy while their brain development can still be corrected. We’ll provide a shoulder to cry on, a place where they’ll feel understood and part of the family. We also want to remove the devastating stigma, brought on by the Chinese American culture, the already suffering families must face, and educate our community that children and adults with special needs can be happy and productive citizens. We further want to unite ourselves and advocate for the rights of disabled persons that they are entitled to as citizens of this great country. It was with these goals in mind that we formed FRIENDS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (FCSN).
While we were well aware of the need, the demand for our services exploded beyond our expectations. In the past 18 years, we have grown to over 900 families, serving over 500 children and young adults with special needs. In 2006, we completed the “Dream Center” in Fremont and began adult programs. Our programs prove to be extremely popular and have long exceeded our capacity. Earlier in 2014, we purchased an 8000 square foot building in San Jose to serve South Bay families better. It is an old retail center and requires a complete overhall. To raise funds for this effort, FCSN is holding our “Build Our Dream in South Bay” dinner gala on November 8, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
Would you please join us and make the dream of many children come true? Please contact me at administration@fcsn1996@.org or call 510-739-6900 x 3305 for more information.
Founder of Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
For more information, please visit: http://www.fcsn1996.org