AKRON, Ohio -- It’s a culture of isolation Jeff and Amy Belles of Akron are tired of living within.
Their 11-year-old son, Carson, has autism.
Instead of changing their son for the world, their desire is to change the world for their son.
“You don’t get invited to birthday parties. You don’t get invited to be a part of groups,” Jeff says. “We’ve lost friends, close friends, that their typical world we don’t fit into.”
Autism is a neurological disorder impacting brain function. It affects the development of communication and social interaction skills. It’s typically diagnosed within the first three years of life.
Carson was diagnosed at 18 months, and slowly lost the ability to speak.
“He was slipping away from me into a world that I didn’t know,” Amy says. “He had nine words and he regressed. The first few years of diagnosis I think I just wanted to find anything I could about autism and learn about it to help my son.”