You're Helping Families Affected by Autism

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Sept. 18, 2014
  • Family Retreats

Griffith familyAutism is the fastest growing disability in the U.S. today. Affected families often face misunderstanding and criticism, simply because the disability is not easy to see. This summer, Joni and Friends welcomed hundreds of families with autism to Family Retreats across the U.S. The Griffith family was one of them – and they can tell you, living with autism is anything but easy. “I’m used to people being standoffish with my son, Paul – he doesn’t connect with people often,” says mom, Michelle. “At Family Retreat, he made a friend right away – he fit in!” As a dad who’s used to the pressures and unpredictability of autism, Steve had his doubts about coming to Family Retreat. “Sure, it’s overwhelming at first, but it’s so great to know my son can ‘act out’ and everyone at Retreat just smiles and says, ‘Yep, we get it.’” Best of all, Steve has found a spiritual band of brothers at Family Retreat. “Hanging out with other dads is the best part for me,” he said. “These are men who haven’t left – they’re hanging in there. We’re all dads who are trying to keep our heads in the game – and that’s pretty cool.” All year long, autism can be isolating. Families often can’t attend church and respite is hard to find. “In my women’s group, I found a sense of belonging – I don’t feel alone anymore,” explained Michelle. “Family Retreat has taught me to appreciate my child’s gifts instead of focusing on his challenges. And that brings so much joy and peace!”


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I haven't been a volunteer at an autism retreat--just a couple of times at retreats for wounded warriors and their families (I have a career military son); but I do have a cousin with an autistic child, and I would like to tell them about this special retreat--I believe they would find benefit in it! May God continue to lead and direct your family. With love, Arlene
  • Dec. 19, 2014
  • 12:58 p.m.
  • Arlene
Hi Joni and friends, I have worked with people who have several disabilities in adults and children like Spastic, Epilepsy, Asthma, Spina-Bifida, Thalidamide {not sure of the correct spelling} But I have never come across people with Autism so I don't really know much about this subject May God bless you special for what you have been through and for what you do to help others x I love reading your posts as they appear , take care and keep them coming , Phil,1v3
  • Sept. 20, 2014
  • 12:59 a.m.
  • Danny Simmons
Our family can totally relate to the Griffith family! It's hard to go to church, hard to socialize and just hang out with other families. It can be very isolating. I hope to be able to attend one of the retreats as a family. Joni and Friends does great work! Keep it up.
  • Sept. 18, 2014
  • 1:39 p.m.
  • Tracey Hillquist