Some of the Scholarships Awarded to Date:
Scholarship Winner: Ethan and Lexi
My name is Lexi, my husband's name is Justin, and we live in Sarasota, FL. After 2 years of undiagnosed infertility, we were finally blessed with our little miracle, Ethan Jon. Ethan is now a smart, spunky, handsome but sometimes bossy 3 year old! Around 18 months we noticed Ethan's speech wasn't progressing as it should be, and finally in October 2015, he was diagnosed with ASD. No matter how much we all knew it in our hearts, it still came as a shock to hear the words said out loud. Not a day has gone by since that I haven't spent some portion of my day googling- looking for answers, suggestions, and help.
Ethan is now enrolled full-time in an autism classroom in a public school system, and he's making great progress. His teachers have won him over and he has them wrapped around his little finger! He's very sweet and incredibly smart, but his attention span is seriously lacking and at times it's nearly impossible to get him to focus. It's so important that he gets the therapy he needs right now, and I worry that his hyperactivity will make it harder. A friend showed me a news story on Facebook about the Buzzies, and I was very intrigued! Anything that could help Ethan focus would be invaluable to us, but unfortunately at this point we can't afford to purchase one. We are 4 weeks away from closing on our new home, which we decided to purchase to be closer to Ethan's school. Right now we commute about 25 miles each way to drop him off and pick him up each day, and it's taking a toll on all of us. Car rides are sometimes very stressful, because sitting still just isn't fun! This is another time in which Buzzies would be helpful!
I appreciate you listening to our story, and considering us to receive this scholarship. I am my son's biggest advocate and I will try anything to help him cope. Thanks again!
Scholarship Winner: Dr. Linda Shea
Dear Dr Serin and Ms Mayo,
I am thrilled to find out about Buzzies. As a classical musician, I'm someone who has battled performance anxiety all my life. At times it hasn't been much of a problem at all but other times it's quite a struggle. The last two years have been so daunting that I have actually considered ending my performing career, which is a devastating thought!
I have anxiety about other things in my life as well, including the Music Festival I am organizing in Europe. After moving to Prague a year ago to pursue a Fulbright Grant, I came up with an idea to put together a Multicultural Music Project where I would bring together musicians of different backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs, etc. to perform music of all styles together. It’s a huge project. There is an extreme amount of anxiety that goes along with the excitement of this new project. The worst part is that is causes me to shut down when I need to be the most productive. Amazingly enough, I’m still managing to move forward but it feel like such slow progress and is even painful at times.
Unfortunately I’m doing all this as a freelance musician and a part-time teacher which gives me no real financial cushion. Thank you for considering a scholarship to help me find renewed confidence in music! - Dr. Linda Shea
Scholarship Winner: Christine and Cory
My son Corey was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder at 20 months old. I was relieved to to finally have answers. Why wasn't my child speaking, or looking me in the eye.
When I was told that Corey may never speak I was devastated. I was sad for a minute then I got mad. I spent hours online doing research. Hours on the phone fighting with Insurance companies to pay for services and the state to provide them.
We've tried many therapies, special diets, Holistic remedies and Defeat Autism Now (NOW) Doctors. We participate in a lot of research studies, ASDRA being one. I've taken my son to Brain Balance therapy which helped quite a bit but was very costly.
I feel blessed to be a Veteran because my military background is so helpful to both of my children. Structure, discipline and organization are extremely relaxing for children with Autism.
I will never stop looking for ways to help my son Corey.
Scholarship Winner: Adrianne Butero
Dr. Amy Serin and Vicki Mayo,
My name is Adrianne and I am a special education teacher in a self-contained classroom at the middle school level. I instruct within a Structured Routine Center, SRC. This program specializes in structure, routine, visual supports with ABA therapy. All 14 of my boys have Autism and range from k-7th grade cognitively. We focus on social skills, peer interaction, and behavior management. As you know every person with Autism is different but all of my boys would benefit from a regulation product such as a buzzies. Many times throughout the day my students struggle with self-regulation and it does hold them back academically, socially and emotionally. I believe this product could be a game changer for my boys. Here is a scenario for just one of my boys in a typical day.
This boy will arrive at school happy, polite and will greet his teacher when prompted. 30 minutes into the day we may start a yelling behavior because of another student who is being vocal or because he is frustrated with something around him. This begins to trigger the other students and we prompt him to take a break or go for a walk with a teacher. This can be something that resolves itself quickly after a walk or can be a 30 minute episode of yelling and other behaviors. Next up is station learning, again a yelling behavior will present itself as he is frustrated with reading, etc and will need to take a break again. Simple things can be a challenge or other days we are very happy and he isn’t bothered and “ it’s the best day ever”. This students is very caring, is working hard on staying in class a full day without a episode and has an extremely supportive parent with two boys on the spectrum. She has tried as we have many interventions. I think with the assistance of this product his behavior will not get in his way and he will be regulated and happy for the full day. This is just one of my 14. My students range from nonverbal to verbal and although we know them well it can be very hard to understand what that students needs to regulate with limited communication skills.
I care deeply for all of my students and I want all of them to reach their full potential. It is painful to watch a meltdown as a teacher, it can make you feel helpless. Every day you want to help each student be happy, successful and process the day in a healthy way. I applaud you for being so innovative and creating a product such as this. I am very hopeful for this product and I KNOW it will change lives.
Masters in Special Education