Surpassing the Diagnosis
It’s not every day that a parent of a child with autism turns his experiences as a springboard to help others in similar situations.
But not everyone is Jared Silverstein.
As a first-time father of two children with autism (twins) Jared had to do lots of learning and growing as a parent - adjusting expectations, learning how to best help his twins, and figuring out schooling, insurance, therapies, and more. It was a lot to learn, and he and his wife, Trish, never gave up, committed to giving their kids the best life possible.
Jared and Trish were lucky; they had familial support so that when their twins needed therapies or tools not covered by insurance, they had the means to cover them. But they realized that not everyone was as lucky as they were; they understood that the financial strain involved in raising special needs children only added to the already stressful lives these families were living. Raising a child with autism is challenging enough; having to worry about how to cover an essential therapy just didn’t seem fair.
Instead of “tsk-tsking” and looking the other way, Jared was determined to do something about it.
And he did.
Puzzle Piece Squared or P2, the nonprofit he and Trish established, helps alleviate some of the financial stress families of kids with autism experience. The name of the organization itself speaks volumes and shows how its founder really understands what other people are going through: Every autistic child is like a puzzle piece, a world unto themselves. There is no one way to raise them or one therapy that will do the trick. Each child needs an individualized plan and care to help them succeed. And the “squared” is because Jared and Trish were doubly blessed with their twins.
Serving his local community, Jared invites families with kids with autism who need advice, support and financial help to contact him through his websitePuzzlePiecesSquared.org. His organization has helped families with therapy payment, respite care, life skill classes, sensory tools and more.
When Jared receives a new inquiry, he really puts his heart and soul into figuring out the best way to help that individual family. In one case, it might be to finance a fence in the family yard so the parent can let their child play outside safely; in another, it might be to help find the best tool to help a nonverbal child communicate; in a third, it might be to finance respite care so the family can get a much-needed break.
Recently Jared worked with the Fun and Function team to createsensory spaces for two different families. One family needed a safe place for their teenage daughter to relax and play. We created a sensory room in their basement that is full of tools to provide appropriate means of stimulation and calm the nervous system. Soothing LED lights, cozyseating,weighted products andfidgets set up the perfect environment for calming and improved focus.
The other family needed to ensure their young son’s safety, particularly at night when he would wake up numerous times. Together with Puzzle Pieces Squared we came up with a plan for a sensory bedroom. Outfitted with custom padded walls and floor, the parents can rest assured that their son is not going to accidentally harm himself. Additionally, we installed aswing, weighted products, alternative seating and anLED cube. The deep pressure input and soothing visuals foster a calm environment.
Finding the right services for a child with autism isn’t always easy. For first-time special needs parents it can be especially challenging. However, at Fun and Function we know that by learning about available tools and services, you are better able to advocate for your child. Our team is always available to share our combined years of experience and expertise, and Puzzle Pieces Squared is an amazing resource for support, emotionally or financially. Our commitment to our customers includes a commitment to partnering with organizations like Puzzle Pieces Squared so that together, we can empower different. It may be overwhelming, but you are not alone in your quest to help your child flourish.
“Autism doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a parent who never gives up.”