How GameStop is giving families like mine hope & support

May 15, 2018

This guest blog post is by Anna Steinbuch. Anna has a son on the autism spectrum and is a GameStop store leader. From May 1- 31, 2018, all GameStop stores in the U.S. will be having a GameStop Gives Back Event, offering three ways guests can contribute to support of people with autism.

It’s hard to put in to words what “autism” means to our family and how it has impacted us. It has really been more of a way of life. It’s all we know.

My son, Sam, was born a happy, healthy baby boy. He was always a good eater and sleeper. He started not meeting major milestones his first year – he didn’t walk until he was 18 months old, had no functional words, etc. His doctor always said, “if you have concerns, have him tested.” So, at 21 months old, we took him to a developmental pediatrician and he was diagnosed with autism.

We started with in-home Early Intervention services in speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy until he was 2 ½ years old and was old enough to start pre-school. He’s now finishing up third grade and will celebrate his ninth birthday in May!

He continues to make strides in his developmental delays, uses an iPad for communication and LOVES spending time adventuring outside, as well as visiting stores with mommy and playing the Switch interactive.

With Sam’s diagnosis, we began advocating for individuals with autism in 2010. We have a big family with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, who all support his development and mainstream inclusion. They defend and protect him when we are out in public. They help fundraise and advocate for autism across the country, because of Sam. We are lucky.

I care so much about this GameStop fundraiser, not only because of my son and our day-to-day battles, but also because I know there are so many families out there who don’t have the support or information and developmental opportunities that we do. It’s for the many families who fear coming in to our stores because of the unexpected outbursts, meltdowns or social stares from other families.

I share my story almost every day. I think it’s so important for families to know that they are not alone in their struggles and there is hope in a diagnosis.

The new NXT Gen Coders Program powered by GameStop, and administered by Autism Speaks, is committed to increasing employment opportunities for the autism community in the fields of computer coding and programming.