For Jodi Goldberg, Founder and President of Blooming with Autism, is setting out to make sure that parents of Autistic children know and feel that the glass is half full, not empty. Goldberg’s ten-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Autism at twenty months, and Goldberg believes that every child can bloom.
Goldberg knows some autism behaviors can be treated with therapies and can help a child progress. “So many parents are focused on the reason, and that is important. But I am trying to help parents help the children that are already diagnosed and need help now,” said Goldberg.
“Chiropractic care, physical therapy, speech, and different kinds of therapy can help retrain the brain and progress with Autism can be made. But progress can be expensive, “she said. Goldberg’s daughter couldn’t talk, and didn’t sleep through the night. “I wanted to know, what I can do, so we can solve these issues.”
Goldberg started Blooming with Autism last year to create grants for parents who couldn’t afford therapy or activities that would help their child with autism. “A mom of a young ten-year-old girl applied and received the grant. She contacted me to see if she was able to buy an ipad with the money she received,” Goldberg said. “Once I found out she had one in school and used it with proficiency, I granted the parent’s request. She uses it during speech therapy, because the child is non-verbal and it is a great tool. She uses it to be engaged and communicate and it creates interaction between her and her therapist,” said Goldberg.
“I have done the research. I understand what is being said out in the Autism Community and what kind of difference therapists and technology can make for children with autism,” said Goldberg. “I had a parent ask me to use the grant money to purchase karate lessons for her child with autism,” Goldberg said. “For that child those lessons have been invaluable and were about more than kicks and earning belts.”
Goldberg, a former elementary teacher, believes that every step forward is one step closer to more mainstreamed education for these children. “My daughter was a head banger. Another child would have knocked themselves out. But she wouldn’t be able to feel it. After seeing a chiropractor, she started getting better and noticed her sensory issues were starting to decrease,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg works with a board of four to help research and fund grant applications. Right now, grants are being funded at about $2,000 each. So far, Blooming with Autism has granted three grants. “My goal is for there to be enough money coming in, fundraisers planned, volunteers working and spreading the word and celebrities involved with Blooming with Autism, that grants get funded faster and we can help more people,” Goldberg said.
The non-profit came out of a website Goldberg created to talk about therapies and progress with other parents of children with autism. “Originally I started a web site just talking about different therapies out there, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to live my dream and help families.”
Goldberg runs the charity from her kitchen table in Wellington, FL and still works in the school system. Everyday Goldberg drives to the local radio station after work and does her “Blooming with Autism” show. “We just talk about ways to help get our children functional. I stay out of the politics of why. My focus is functional children.”
Progress comes with a few steps back once in a while, and Goldberg understands the frustration. “I think staying positive really makes a difference. We had a time where she would regress and you have that moment and you move on,” Goldberg said. “That is expected and as parents we know that. But being realistic and hopeful is an attitude that is passed down to our children. If kids know that their parents are solid then they can have sure footing and move forward, not dwell on the past.”
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