Meet Cassie G.
Cassie G., 11
“She feels at a level I can’t even begin to imagine. She loves with every fiber of her being.”
"She Will Move Her Mountains"
How 11-year-old Cassie teaches her family and friends about love.
“Cassie communicates. Her verbal abilities may need improvement, but I think our listening abilities could stand to improve, too!”
As 11-year-old Cassie’s mom Chrissy knows well, people with autism like her daughter find their own unique ways to express themselves and navigate the world. And when people with autism find the strategies that truly work for them, the results can be amazing. Chrissy has seen this for herself—and we're sharing her story to help spread understanding.
When Cassie’s grandfather had cancer, “We were trying so hard to get her to say ‘Grandpa,’” Chrissy recalls. “The speech therapists told us the ‘gr’ sound was difficult for someone with limited communication. Cassie surprised me one day and picked up a framed photo of him, waved and said, ‘Hi, Grandpa!’ I learned then and there to never underestimate my girl. She will move her mountains, on her schedule, regardless of textbook ‘limits.’”
Cassie’s approach to the world involves mapping out each day, sticking to routines and wearing headphones to screen out noise. These strategies help Cassie manage anxiety and sensory sensitivities, so that she can give her all to the things she loves, like dancing, making music on her keyboard and hanging out with her friends.
“We have close friends who have raised their twin girls alongside us with Cassie,” Chrissy says, “and they love, understand, even protect her more than we do sometimes. It makes me truly believe that Cassie's influence in showing others a ‘different view’ is really changing the world – because little people like these twins are going to treat everyone with the same love and compassion they treat Cassie, regardless.”
Chrissy also knows that for all of the planning and preparation, sometimes the noise and chaos of the world can overwhelm Cassie. But what if there were more understanding and acceptance of people with autism?
What if the world around Cassie was a little more inclusive, a little kinder? What might Cassie feel and believe and accomplish in such a world?
At Autism Speaks, we hope to answer those questions. Throughout 2020, our mission is to create a Year of Kindness, joining with our supporters to create a more inclusive and kind world. We believe that celebrating and encouraging acts of kindness will directly advance our mission by creating more understanding and acceptance for Cassie and for all people with autism.
As part of our commitment to making 2020 the Year of Kindness, we’ve set a goal of collecting one million acts of kindness, big and small. We invite everyone in and around the autism community to join us – and we’ll continue to provide new and exciting ways to get involved.
One million kind acts this year—that's our goal. Help us get there by pledging your support for the Year of Kindness initiative today.