May 5, 2020

‘We found a community’ Ballard Center still finds ways to help

By Anonymous Ballard parent

The Ballard Center has given us so much more than just an education for our two sons with autism. We have an entire team of people invested in our family and dedicated to ensuring our success and stability. We found a community.

They connected us with Autism Services of Kansas, which resulted in 20-plus hours per week of one-on-one therapy that takes place at Ballard. Because of these services, along with the coordination with their classroom teachers, our boys are thriving beyond belief.

We have received pro bono legal advice and referrals, free therapy with a child therapist, and we were even connected to a board member that helped find us a new home. Not to mention, they introduced us to the two best babysitters we could ask for!

Personally, I have been empowered and supported by the Ballard team. They let me cry when I’m overwhelmed and remind me that I am doing a great job.

And then COVID-19 hit, and our needs increased.

My wife works in healthcare and is a very essential worker, often working long hours. I have been unable to work as I attempt to be a therapist, special education teacher, and make sure my wild four and five-year-olds don’t kill each other.

I needed help. I was beyond overwhelmed. However, I knew that other people are struggling way more than us, so I didn’t feel comfortable asking. But because the Ballard staff is so invested in its families, the staff knew I needed help without having to ask.

Over the last two months, we have received more support than I could imagine.

When I was attempting to teach the boys while cleaning up a disaster and trying to stop them from climbing on everything, lunch would show up from the Ballard Center staff. When I’m unable to get out to grocery shop, a box of food, including a big bag of Chex Mix that they know is our four-year old’s favorite, is delivered.

I mentioned that we were struggling to get the boys to sit in front of a computer for online therapies and to find a webcam that we could connect to our tv that was either in stock or affordable. After that, Ballard found a donor not using one that we could borrow.

We were even “adopted” by amazing people that offer meals and emotional support.

Accepting help has been so hard, especially when I think of others in need. However, the Ballard staff has continued to remind me that there is no shame in receiving help and that helping each other is what communities do.

I can honestly say that Ballard has changed our lives and given us exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

Our story is just one of the thousands that could be told about how Ballard has changed and saved lives. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing community support system in Lawrence.


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