We hear it too often- what happens when our kids become adults?

Who will make sure their needs are met? How will families navigate this transition?  Where will funding come from?  Where do we go from here?

Recognizing the growing need for resources, support and direction for families with young adults on the autism spectrum, John and Traci Schneider have yet again paved the way to provide a glimmer of hope for families navigating this transition into adulthood.

In early April, Ben’s Fund made a splash in the community after announcing they would be expanding their mission to offer grants for young adults (19-23) on the autism spectrum.

Finding meaningful and age-appropriate daytime activities and employment options can be difficult, and the funding to accompany can be a barrier for young adults in maintaining a quality of life they need, and deserve.

Which is why Ben’s Fund took this leap, shares Traci Schneider.

“John and I are so thrilled to expand the reach of Ben’s Fund to young adults. We know what it’s like to be approaching adulthood with a child with autism.  There are so many questions, uncertainties and little support.  We want to help make this transition a little easier for this age group as they start to figure out what life will look like.”  Traci Schneider

Items covered by the young adult grant will be related to education, job training, social and life skills to support the young adults autism treatment and transition to adulthood.

John and Traci Schneider established Ben’s Fund in 2012 in honor of their son Ben, who has autism. The mission of Ben’s Fund is to provide grant opportunities to families across Washington state who need financial assistance with requests related specifically to their child’s and young adults autism spectrum disorder treatments. From therapies to equipment, Ben’s Fund supports local families by easing some of the financial strain associated with autism, while also connecting them to vital resources and a community through FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment).

To date, over 1,500 grants have been given, close to $1.5 million.   These grants support many things, like Ipads for communication, therapies and treatments, recreational activities and more.  Ben’s Fund grants are available for up to $1,000.00 per qualifying child or young adult, per award year. 

The impact on each of these families has been life-changing. Hear from Ian’s family, one of many who continue to reap the benefits of Ben’s Fund;

“We applied to Ben Fund 2 years ago when Ian, age 3, had just started ABA classes at Seattle Children’s. You guided us through the process and we asked for an I-pad and wonder of wonders, it was delivered on Christmas eve. What perfect timing!

Since that day Ian lives with his I-pad as an extension of himself. Before and after school its ” where’s my I-pad”? He giggles at funny kids u tube efforts, plays games, shows us happy, sad and “mean” kids in movies like Inside Out, one of his favorite movies. He skypes with distant family members regularly, making his circle of family much larger.

We interact with Ian and his I-pad also during dinners out. He actually sits with his friendly I-pad politely during family holiday meals, which take Forever to finish. Ian takes his first “friend” every where he goes. A big thank you to Ben’s Fun for giving our child on the spectrum a special friend “to have and to hold….”

This latest effort by Ben’s Fund will yet again fill a vital need in the community, providing more hope, and more opportunities for our young adults and families who need it most.

Apply at FEAT of Washington for qualifying criteria, application, instructions, and sample services and supports covered by Ben’s Fund