2023 Yes Day for Autism

Tempe Community School

Around the time Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) was founded, the incidence of an autism diagnosis was 1 in 500; today it is 1 in 36.

 Hi! I am Hahley, mom to Beckham, (also known as B, Beck, Becky, Beckers or the kiddo always walking around with a handful of animal figurines).

I am reaching out today to share a fun opportunity to get involved with SARRC’s signature fall event YES Day for Autism! As a YES Day for Autism Committee Member, I will be your ambassador to the event and here to answer any questions you may have.

I remember having the “gut feeling” that something was different with Beckham when he was a year old. I immediately began researching, and gathering as much information as I could. Our pediatrician assured us that Beckham was just fine, and his delayed milestones were a result of being the youngest. At 15 months Beckham was diagnosed “at risk for autism” by the developmental specialist. I was given a packet of information, but still felt very lost. The packet that was given to me contained 1 page about SARRC and the jumpstart program. I knew we needed this intensive education and felt a sense of relief talking to the staff and enrolling. Jumpstart gave me the tools to advocate for Beckham, introduced me to ABA therapy, and helped me see how I could teach him to communicate while having fun and playing.  Beckham received his official diagnosis at 18 months, and even though I knew it was coming, it was hard. I remember going through the stages of grief, and wondering what was next.  I am a NICU nurse, and advocate for little ones daily, yet I couldn’t seem to find the next steps for Beckham. I toured Tempe Community School shortly after completing jumpstart, as I knew Beckham needed so much more than I could provide.  I’m sure each one of you feel very similar when I say our school is like a little family. It is a place of acceptance, positivity, and growth. Each staff member continuously goes above and beyond to give our children everything they can ensure they are successful.  Their job isn’t an easy one, but its apparent there’s no place else they’d rather be. Every morning we are greeted with smiles, and as I leave every day, I know I am leaving Beckham with some of the most caring people I have ever known. They root for our kiddos with all they have, and they never give up.  The amount of progress I have seen in Beckham is unbelievable. When Beckham started school in February he had no words, was unable to communicate, and his play consisted of lining toys up.  Today, Beck doesn’t stop talking- he is thrilled to tell anyone that will listen what sound each animal makes. He communicates his needs, can follow directions (when he wants ), and constantly wants someone playing with him. Beckham, just like all our kids, is amazingly intelligent, and has such a beautiful way of seeing the world-it just took the right people in his corner to open that door. I can’t imagine life without SARRC and our incredible school.

This year, our Team is participating YES Day for Autism to raise critical autism funding not only for SARRC but for other nonprofit autism organizations throughout the state as well. Importantly, all dollars raised will be kept in Arizona for Arizona
YES Day for Autism is as much about saying “yes” to autism awareness, support, and inclusion as it is to saying “yes” to statewide collaboration. Every dollar raised will help the state expand from Phoenix as “the most autism-friendly city” to Arizona as “the most autism-friendly state.”
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