Texas, We Can Do Better For Special Needs

In Texas, there are few residential options for adults with special needs that are high quality and affordable and most are private. The cost of these centers runs $47,000-70,000 per year. If your adult child with special needs goes to a place like this from ages 30-65, the cost is $1-2M. If you couple that with a high divorce rate in the Special Needs community, there is a majority of single parents out there who cannot afford this long-term care. Even married couples struggle with this cost. Imagine if you had to pay for college for 35-40 years.

Texas, we can do better for Special Needs families.
We must.

Welcome Our Newest Advisory Board Member

Welcome to our newest Advisory Board member, Leah Bennett. We are honored!

Leah Bennett, CFA
President, Westwood Trust

Ms. Bennett was appointed President of Westwood Trust, Houston in March 2018. Prior to joining Westwood in 2016, Ms. Bennett was Co-Chief Investment Officer at South Texas Money Management, where she shared responsibility for overseeing the investment strategies of the firm.

Prior to that, she was a Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at King Investment Advisors, Inc. and a Research Analyst for Capital Research & Management. In June of 2017, Ms. Bennett was elected to the CFA Global Board of Governors, where she serves on the Audit and Risk Committee.

She is a former President and Director of CFA Society Houston and is a Co-Founder of the CFA Women in Investment Management initiative and the CFA Institute Global Research Challenge of the Southwest. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, on the Wright Fund Oversight Board at Rice University and on the Advisory Council of Executives (ACEs) at the Bill Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University. Ms. Bennett earned her Bachelor of Science in economics from Texas A&M University.


Sharing a “Thank You”

Sharing a “thank you” from a family we were able to help because of YOUR generosity!

My 6-year-old son was diagnosed with ASD in 2014, ADHD and epilepsy in 2017, and focal cortical dysplasia in 2018. With multiple therapies, doctor visits, tests, procedures, medicine, child care, etc.. During this same time frame, I lost my 6 figure job, went through a divorce, was left with almost $100,000 in unsecured debt, and no income. The reality of all of this hits you in the face going about 1000 mph and to say I was overwhelmed, is an understatement. With insurance, my son’s therapies cost between $800-1000 a month. Testing, ambulatory costs, medical expenses not covered by insurance were mounting up and my savings, all 401Ks, and anything else I had were quickly depleted.

I applied to Autism Rescue Angels because I needed help to get the best care for my son. The grant we received allowed my son to proceed with necessary testing, therapies, and medication. We would be lost without the generosity of ARA.

Thank you to Lisa and the ARA board!

Young & Old, Autistic Individuals Have Nowhere To Go

Adolescents and young adults with severe autism may still have the mental age of a child, and short-term care to stabilize those in crisis who are nonverbal or combative is practically nonexistent. Longer-term care can be almost as hard to find. It must be highly specialized, usually involving intensive behavioral therapy; someone with severe autism gets little benefit from traditional psychiatric services.

Christina Jewett’s article has all good points, but this too stands true for adults with Autism. Many people with autism have serious comorbid conditions. Autism is not just mental health it is medical – a whole body disability.

Read Kaiser Health News’ full article here.

5 Reasons Why We Do What We Do

5 Reasons Why We Do What We Do

  1. The annual cost of autism therapies and treatments can exceed $40,000 to $80,000 per year. The lifetime cost to support an individual with autism is greater than $3.2 million.
  2. The majority of autism treatment options are NOT covered by insurance.
  3. Some estimates indicate that the rate of underemployment among adults with autism exceeds 90%.
  4. Autism impacts families. 70% to 80% of parents with a child with autism will get divorced.
  5. Children who are autistic grow into adults who are autistic. The greatest fear of parents of a child with autism is “who will care for my child (or children) when I am gone?”

Source:  Autism Action Partnership

** Summer can be tough for people with autism without a consistent school or therapy schedule!
Please donate to support summer therapy and medical needs. Thank you!



Summer is a time for extra therapy and extra expenses.

Summer is here and many families are trying to afford extra therapy while out of school. Please consider donating ON OUR WEBSITE!! Thank you.

The following is a testimony we would like to share from a family we have helped thanks to the WithMerci Foundation’s support:


My son, Wyatt, is five years old and has been diagnosed with severe non-verbal Autism, behavior disorder and aggression issues. He also has Epilepsy, Asthma, a rare stomach disorder, and many other health conditions. Wyatt has a twin brother and was born two months premature.

After spending the first 6 weeks of his life in the NICU, Wyatt started receiving ECI therapy at home at the age of four months to address developmental delays. He crawled, sat, stood, and walked about 6 to 8 months later than his twin brother, but was otherwise a happy, affectionate baby.

Around the age of 2.5 yrs, we started noticing a big personality change. At first, we thought him hitting his head was just a stage and that he would eventually take an interest in playing with his siblings and toys like our other children. When he completely stopped babbling and saying mama, we became concerned and had him evaluated. As it turned out, the psychologist not only discovered Autism, but also absence seizures that we confirmed with a neurologist and further testing that came with his Epilepsy diagnosis.

Since age three Wyatt has gotten bigger, stronger and much more aggressive. PPCD was focusing on academics, when really his behavior was the issue that was tearing our family apart and going to prevent his success in life. My husband and I knew that full time ABA therapy was the only answer for Wyatt but after calling program and after program, we also knew we couldn’t afford it on a single income. My sister suggested that I apply to Autism Rescue Angels for help and they were really our last hope. I remember writing the email and then holding my breath. I didn’t even tell my husband because I didn’t want to get his hopes up.

Well, Autism Rescue Angels answered our prayer and covered our insurance deductible. The change in sweet Wyatt since beginning ABA is nothing but a miracle and the support that we all receive from the Texana team is amazing. We went from feeling like we were drowning to feeling like Wyatt is on a path to succeed and we are on the same team working towards that future. It is hard work, but having answers and plan is more than I could have hoped for less than a year ago. My boy is smart and capable of doing great things and now his behavior issues aren’t going to hold him back. I am one proud and thankful mama.

Thank you again for everything!!!