Special Learning, Inc. and Step By Step Announce Grant Recipients of the 2012 Helping Hearts for Autism Campaign

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Five families will receive $500 grants and a matching contribution of in-kind products from Special Learning.

Special Learning

“Seeing the need that families affected by autism have has inspired us all to give more. Through this campaign, hopefully, we’ve been able to change the lives of a few families for the better and raise awareness of the impact autism has on our society.”

Special Learning, Inc., the leading global provider of mobile technology applications and educational resources for the autism community, and its strategic partner, Step By Step, a highly regarded nonprofit autism treatment center in central Ohio, announced today the first class of grant recipients for its campaign, Helping Hearts for Autism.

Response to the program was great, with nearly 40 submissions received nominating families affected by autism and in need of support for the holidays. From the list of worthy nominees, five individuals were chosen to receive $500 grants and a matching contribution of Special Learning’s products.

Nominations were received from states across the nation, and the winners are representative of five different states. They include:

  •     A married mother of two children from California who is struggling to battle terminal cancer herself and find therapy for her youngest child with autism;
  •     A single unemployed father of two young boys in Oregon, one with autism; his oldest son has unselfishly offered to forgo Christmas to help the family keep a roof over their head;
  •     A single mother in Pennsylvania, nominated by her teenage daughter whose younger brother with autism has changed her life for the better; now she hopes to help her mom who has always struggled as a single mom to make ends meet for the family of four;
  •     A single mother of three from Iowa who is trying to meet the needs of her family, including one son with autism and a growth hormone deficiency; and
  •     A mother of a son with autism and severe aggression issues in Illinois who has found new hope in a school they are struggling to afford.

The first-of-its-kind campaign, which gives back directly to the families, ran from December 5 through December 19, and was created to raise money for families affected by autism with a financial need during the holiday season. Through it, more than $2,500 was raised through donations from the community and will be combined into $500 grants, which will be awarded to the chosen recipients before the end of the year.

“This campaign has been eye opening and humbling,” said Karen Chung, co-founder and chief executive officer of Special Learning. “Seeing the need that families affected by autism have has inspired us all to give more. Through this campaign, hopefully, we’ve been able to change the lives of a few families for the better and raise awareness of the impact autism has on our society.”

Because of the rapid response of the community in both nominating and donating, the fundraiser will become an ongoing initiative. “The effort will continue on a quarterly basis,” said Chung, “because there is a need that was exposed through the initial round of grants. Given the effect the grants will have on the families who receive them, there’s a great deal more that can be accomplished throughout the New Year.”

The grassroots campaign has also spawned the “Helping Hearts for Autism” walk/run to be held in Chicago this spring to support the effort. Planning is in the works now and an announcement will be made shortly.

“The impact this campaign has made on me personally has been enormous,” Chung said. “It’s had such a profound effect, and the only way to ensure efforts like this spread is to continue investing time and resources into them.”

The families chosen to receive the grants were selected by a group of unbiased appointees affiliated with Special Learning and Step by Step.

For more information about Special Learning, visit http://www.special-learning.com/home.

Step By Step currently serves children, teens and adults throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio, metro area. For more information about Step By Step, visit http://www.stepbystepacademy.org.

About Special Learning
Special Learning is the leading global provider of autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) solutions. Special Learning designs mobile applications and educational resources based on clinical evidence-based research to ensure that every person diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is capable of attaining an abundant and fulfilling life. Through its comprehensive web portal, Special Learning provides the global autism community with a range of ABA training and educational products, web-based and downloadable tools and professional services to empower parents, teachers and providers so that they can help individuals with autism move up the skills spectrum intuitively, successfully and affordably. Follow Special Learning on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/speciallearning, and Twitter, https://twitter.com/speciallearning.

About Step By Step, Inc.
Step By Step is a private, nonprofit treatment center for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Using its Continuum of Care model, it offers a range of services designed to diagnose the nature and extent of the condition and provide the appropriate treatment and environment across the spectrum for children, adolescents and young adults. In addition to center-based programs, Step By Step offers direct services to the community including assessment, intensive behavioral intervention treatment, speech, psychology and psychiatric services, as well as parent advocacy, case management, counseling, and parent and professional trainings. Step By Step has several partnerships with local school districts to provide successful behavioral intervention programs directly within a school setting. Follow Step By Step on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/stepbystepacademy, and Twitter, https://twitter.com/SBSA_Ohio.

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Julie Roumeliote
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