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VIDEO: Shawna - A Vision for a Better Life

November 9, 2018

What would you do to help your child succeed?

It’s not easy raising kids, and there are even more challenges for families who have loved ones with special needs.

Shawna lives with Autism and she is non-verbal, which means that she doesn’t communicate using speech the same way most children do. That makes understanding her needs that much more challenging for her Mom, Rose, and her family.

When Shawna was little, her family didn’t know anything about Autism or how to raise a child with a disability – she was diagnosed in pre-school. It wasn’t even certain that Shawna would be able to attend school, due to some of the behaviours she exhibited.

A Vision for a Better Life

Because of YOU, Rose has a positive vision for how Shawna’s life should be – one where Shawna is a contributing, active member of her community. That means advocating for Shawna’s right to attend school with other children, to participate in community activities, and to find meaningful work or volunteer opportunities and the supportive care she needs as she grows into adulthood.

There are many obstacles to achieving this vision, but thanks to volunteer mentors, expert-led workshops, and advice from program staff, it’s much easier for families like Rose’s to navigate these challenges and learn to advocate for kids like Shawna, so they can become valued citizens who are fully accepted in the community.

Help Families Like Shawna’s

Shawna’s diagnosis changed her whole family’s circumstances. Rose chose not to work because of Shawna’s high needs. Shawna’s older sister Kyla experienced bullying, and has made the decision to stay close to home while attending University, to support Shawna and her parents. They have also become more distant from their relatives because of Shawna’s aversion to larger family gatherings.

But thanks to you, today, Shawna has the supports she needs. Rose says she has a ‘sweet and loving’ nature. Shawna attends school along with other children her age, doing a modified educational program. She has a visual schedule on her iPad which helps her communicate with her family and teachers. And they have become stronger and a more loving, close-knit family as a result of their shared challenges.

“Your donation helps our child to have a good quality of life. Thank you for everything,” says Rose.

Your Support Helps Windsor-Essex

Last year, United Way’s Family Supports Strategy helped 604 families find additional community connections, information, and mentorship to effectively address the needs of their loved ones living with a disability.

For just $4 a week you can help a local family like Shawna’s.

Last updated on April 1, 2022

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