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Testimonials from our Grant Recipients

  

The "Abrams" Family

I have been wanting to take my son on some form of vacation that we both can in enjoy and be ourselves, and AotS popped up on my Google search. I was so excited and grateful for this grant! Thank you so much for allowing me and my son to be able to enjoy a vacation were we can with others with our same  life  Struggles.

The "Baker" Family

"Grateful" doesn't even cover how I feel about being selected for an AotS grant! I'm a single mom, and it seemed like any sort of real vacation was financially impossible - or possible but after years of saving. I've spent nights worrying about them missing out simply because I can't afford something extra like a cruise. On top of that, I also worried over my kiddo: Would he have fun? Would we be treated rudely? Would places be accommodating? Working with AotS answered all those questions: Of course he's going to have fun - a cruise with pools and the beach?! Who wouldn't? Will people be rude? Possibly, but he'll be with peers and people that understand him, and that makes it easier to ignore rudeness from strangers. And accommodations? I have no worries at all since I know our trip begins with a social story to help him prepare. And since AotS is partnering with cruise lines for things like private muster and waived clothing dress codes, it indicates to me they've had long conversations with the cruise lines on various needs. That's huge for me. Someone else doing the legwork to prep so I don't have to wonder, "How much will I have to educate people?" means I actually have hope we'll have a real, relaxing family vacation. Now I'm not worrying about the "ifs" and "whens" - I'm actually planning for fun!

"Brenna, Taylor and Tessa"

Hi.  I'm an autistic woman raising 2 children with disabilities.  One is an adult now with severe bipolar disorder and anxiety so severe she has struggled to be on her own.  The other a 10 year old with autism. Severe speech apraxia, Rubinstein Taby ray 2, epilepsy, anxiety, sensory processing disorder,  severe cognitive disabilities, ocd, adhd, and she self harms (bites own hands, picks fingers). I had to quit my job due to the overwhelming need to be there full time.  (Childcare that's qualified to handle these needs cost more than I could ever earn) We get by on government help and my creative writing talent.   

We barely make it but somehow manage to.  This doesn't leave a lot room for saving for trips.  I never thought I'd get to see another country or even be on a ship.  It's been a dream of mine and my daughter to travel.  We also don't get to enjoy our family time in a safe controlled environment out side our home often.  It's therapy and home for us. The pandemic was hard on everyone but harder to explain to a child who can't understand why things changed so drastically.  We need this break and adventure.  My youngest absolutely loves the water and will be thrilled when she realizes we are going bye bye in a giant boat. She loves to sit and watch them and now will be on one! She's going to be all flappy hands and screeching for joy.  She deserves this. She works so hard in therapy. She's such a beautiful soul. 

Three years ago I also became permanently physically disabled due to an elderly woman running a red light and hitting myself and youngest.  We slid in snow and hit a utility pole. I had to be cut out and I've had surgery that was mostly about cleaning up the damage more than repairing it.  Kiddo got a head injury that had caused migraines for years now. We need some good luck. 

To top this my car was stolen and used in a crime then totaled. I got no justice or payment because they got away and I only had liability insurance. It's been a very rough few years. We need a break. And something to look forward to. 

Thank you. Forever thank you for this gift. It means more than you will ever know. 

The "Caballero" Family

        We are greatly appreciative for this wonderful program. We never would have imagined being able to vacation with our children on a cruise but, AotS has made it possible because of their grant and being so autism friendly! Thank you so much!

The Caballero family

The "Coufal" Family

We would like to take a moment to express our heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation for your generous financial support.
Your generosity serves as a beacon of hope for those in need, and we are committed to sharing these stories with others who aspire to provide similar opportunities. Your support not only aids individuals and families but also motivates and encourages others to contribute to the betterment of society.

With deep gratitude and warm regards,
The Coufal Family

The "Crawford" Family

We are so grateful to be the recipients of an AotS grant. As a family with a special needs child, vacations are on the bottom of the list of priorities. We are so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to make some amazing memories!!

The "Drake" Family

I would just like to say thank you so much for our grant and without you we would not be able to make these memories as a family and travel. Im so excited to see and venture with Autism on the Seas with my family as I know they will love it but especially my son with autism. God bless, The Drakes

The "Dugger" Family

Thank you for this amazing opportunity. I never thought a vacation experience would be possible for my little one and now I am able to let him experience it.

The "Henandez" Family

        This is exciting, never ever have we gone on a cruise, and this will be fun. It will take a while to get my son to set his mind to make the best of this trip. And thank you so very much for the opportunity, we are going to enjoy this and soak it up and have fun. Thank you all again for the financial assistance. 🙏

The "Henandez" Family

        We are extremely thankful and grateful for this grant and the opportunity to even plan a trip stress-free let alone actually get to go on a cruise with all of us. Having two children with special needs, yet very different needs is challenging and this opportunity is so rewarding and gives us so much hope for the future of our vacations! Thank you.

The "Hickson" Family

         I am so excited about my cruise. This has been a blessing to me and my family and we thank you very much. I tried three times before receiving a grant. Thank you so very much for   
         everything. I know we are going to have a great time. This trip is very much needed. I don't get a chance to take my son anywhere due to his condition. Thank you so much.

The "Kelsey" Family

My daughter and I are so appreciative of the grant. As a single mother, vacations and recreational activities can be difficult to afford. This opportunity is a Blessing.

The "Kueter" Family

          Thank you for such a wonderful experience that we would never have the opportunity to do.

The "Laguerre" Family

Honestly it took me a minute to figure out how to explain how much this Grant means to my family and I.  We have never been on a True vacation and without the blessing of this grant we would not be headed to our first ever cruise.   We have not told the children as of yet we want to make sure that it is paid in full then we want to completely surprise them by driving straight to the ship.  I want to video the look on their face when they find out and I hope I can share it with you all.  I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity.  

The "Molby" Family

I would like to thank you for the grant that we have received that is allowing our family to sail to Alaska in 2022. We are so excited for this opportunity. This will be the first time we have ever traveled with assistance and can't wait to see the difference it makes. We usually return from trips stressed and tired, but feel, with the assistance of the staff, we all have a chance of enjoying our time away. Thank you to all of the generous donors who so thoughtfully gave of their resources  to make this trip possible for us. We are truly grateful. 

The "Moore" Family

Thank you so much for providing us with this amazing opportunity! I am a solo parent of an amazing kiddo who is on the autism spectrum. We spend our days focused on coping skills, safety, and daily living tasks. Autism doesn’t take a break for vacation, and transitions are difficult for my son. We have attempted vacations before, which turn into a job in themselves. Requesting accommodations, explaining autism, and answering questions for people who have a certain perception of autism, gets tiring. Autism can be invisible, so sometimes we are judged when we ask for accommodations. Now that my son is 12, he realizes that he is different. He would rather not attempt a vacation at all than to risk feeling unsafe in an unfamiliar place, or to be embarrassed. The last time we took a short trip, we spent our entire time in the hotel room rather than sight seeing and experiencing the trip as we had intended, due to autistic meltdowns. It was draining and we couldn’t wait for it to be over.

I look forward to being on a trip where my son isn’t isolated because of his autism. I love my family, but they often do not understand. It will be refreshing to have someone there who understands and can help advocate on our behalf. I am in tears writing this because, finally, this feels like this may be a REAL vacation for us. Several years ago, we applied for a grant with AOTSF and were approved. However, we were unable to go because of a health issue my son was dealing with. I have always looked forward to trying again, and have been talking to my son about it for years, in hopes that we would again have the opportunity. We are both excited beyond words. This is really a dream come true. Also, autism is expensive, especially for a single parent. We would not be able to afford a trip or accommodations like this without the grant from the foundation, and the ability to fundraise.

My son has lots of memories of health issues and autism-related struggles in his childhood. I can’t wait to outshine some of those with an amazing, relaxing and fun vacation!

Thank you so much!

The "Martin" Family

Thank you so much for the grant you have generously awarded us with. As a disabled mom raising a son on the spectrum alone, I had not ever been able to take my son far from home.       Receiving financial assistance for a trip with Autism on the Seas on a staffed cruise removes both financial and physical barriers for us. I don’t have the words to describe how excited my son     and I both are to have this opportunity. Thank you so much,  Glenna M 

The "Na-El" Family

I am so grateful for your donation! My mother passed late this summer and my children have been struggling with handling their grief. This will give them something to look forward to. Sometimes you need that to keep you moving forward. My mother had a cruise booked and was unable to go because she was diagnosed with brain cancer. This will be a fitting tribute to her love for cruising and I thank you for helping to make that possible.

The "Perry/Rush/Lloyd" Family

Thank you for awarding my family with a grant. This is our first opportunity to take a cruise. Being a special needs family, we have limited access to certain activities and venues. This would provide us with never before chance at a  new experience and memories. Stay well and blessed.  Respectfully, The Perry/Rush/Lloyd family

The "Polony" Family

Thank you so much for making this possible for our family. This will be a lifelong memory for us.

The "Salisbury" Family

Thank you so much for this wonderful gift. We would not be able to give our son this experience and wonderful vacation without the generosity

The "Sanmartin" Family

This opportunity becoming true means the entire world to us. I never thought being able to go on a family cruise would be possible both without staff help and also the financial commitment. I truly cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for being awarded this assistance to help make our dreams come true. My son has never gotten to do anything like this but I know he loves water, sunshine, and being outside. I’m so excited to see his big smile, hear his silly laughs, and make beautiful family memories.

The "Singleton" Family

The family of Ashley Shipp want to let you know how grateful we are for this kind token of love. This will allow our family to take part in a much needed vacation especially since Ashley didn’t have a  great time being away from her normal group of friends during covid . 

The "Sanger" Family

We are so thankful for this grant as it will let us do something we have always wanted to do. Knowing that this helps us go on this fantastic cruise with the AOTS staff supporting us is a dream come true. We never would have been able to do this without the grant support and we are all excited to go on this adventure. Thank you again for your support! The Sangers

The "Sikes" Family

          Thank you so much for this opportunity. Our family is especilaly thankful for this following COVID and no vacations and very stressful times. We would not be able to provide this   
          experience to our son otherwise. I am also ver excited to meet new families ans share experiences, and hopefully gain new knowledge.

The "Smith" Family

         I cannot thank AOTS and the sponsors/donors enough for this financial assistance! As the single parent of a 5-year old with special needs, vacations had become nonexistent for us. He and I are both beyond excited to embark on this new experience! This mama is also looking forward to some much needed relaxation time.

The "Rodriguez" Family

We are so happy that soon we will be taking our first cruise with Autism on the Seas! I remember going on our first cruise and seeing a group in orange and they totally caught my attention!  I then found about them? Our autistic son LOVE to swim so we plan all our vacations and time off around water so we can all enjoy! Camping here in Canada but mostly taking Caribbean cruises! Having said this is always hard for us as parentes to give our full attention to our daughter at times, or have some desterved alon time for us as a couple! So this is it! I think we are set up to have the perfect vacation! Thank you for helping families like us to have this amizing and unique opportunity! This is a huge blessing for us and we are so looking forward for this and many more vacations with Autism on the Seas! Thanks! Dayris R           

The "Ryans/Quarterman" Family

        This is truly amazing! We cannot believe this, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We never thought our son would take a trip like this!

The "Thompson" Family

         We really appreciate the opportunity to be able to share this experience together as a family! Words cannot express how thankful we are..

The "Woodard" Family

          Thank you so much!! We've been wanting to take a cruise for forever but weren't sure if we would be able to. Your gift is helping to make that dream a reality.

The "Waugh" Family

We are so grateful for Autism On The Seas even having this as an option to be able to do what we thought was impossible. After the year we have had with 3 deaths in 4 months, seizures returning, it has been quite a year. If it were not for this company and this grant, we never would have been able to have the time we need desperately as a family to breathe and get ourselves back to a state of some kind of peace of mind. We could never thank you enough for making this dream come true.