Meet Geoff and Connor

Geoff and Connor

My passion is to see all the progress being made by organizations like Autism Speaks as it relates to education, life experiences and parental support. It will make for a better life in the future for my son and others like him.  

“I can’t say enough about Geoff and how much he’s done for the New England chapter of Autism Speaks. He’s without question a rockstar volunteer – especially during Walk season! Not only is Geoff constantly making sure storage is organized and ready to go when events roll around, but he helps pack the vans before Walk weekend, travels to the Walks to set up the night before and the morning of events and is our go-to logistics man. He’s just an overall solid attribute to our chapter. We would not be nearly as successful without him and his family on our team.”  

– Rebekka Farquharson, Autism Speaks Manager of Field Development, New England 

Meet Geoff and Connor

Learn about Geoff’s connection to Autism Speaks and why he dedicates so much of his time supporting his local Autism Speaks Walk in this Volunteer Spotlight.  

Connor E.

My son, Connor, 29, was diagnosed with autism in 1995 when he was 3 years old. Although we sought multiple opinions, my wife Patricia and I embraced the news immediately as we knew there was something going on with his development. Initially, we were told Connor would slowly lose his words and become nonverbal, but we believed he could beat the odds if he had access to intervention services.  

We immediately began learning all we could about autism and did all we could to provide our son with every opportunity to reach his full potential. That meant countless hours of reading, researching and planning for the future needs of our son and the rest of our family. There was no Autism Speaks back then—mostly just small groups of parents, educators and professionals who we could rely on for advice.  

By age 5, Connor had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and attended Dedham, MA public schools through elementary school. It was an inclusion program where he received lessons in both the full-class settings as well as individual instruction. From age 13 through 22, he attended the League School of Greater Boston and graduated in 2014 with flying colors! As his dad, I am so proud of him and how far he’s come since being diagnosed almost 22 years ago. All of his accomplishments make me smile from ear to ear. 

Since graduation, Connor has worked for Lifeworks Employment Services. Currently, he works two days per week doing sorting/stacking tasks in a local warehouse and one day a week doing deliveries for Meals on Wheels. He is supported by Social Security and has a yearly Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to discuss goals for the past year and update goals for the coming year.  

Meet Geoff and Connor

Aside from his jobs, Connor has many interests and hobbies. He’s a big fan of Star Wars, Legos, steam trains, Pokémon, video gaming, YouTube videos and anything technology based. He loves family gatherings, especially in his own house, where he is most comfortable. I’d describe him as caring, kind, very funny (he loves a good joke/pun) and a storyteller. Over time, it has become evident that Connor has a photographic memory, primarily tied to visual learning. He has memorized the entire Star Wars movie catalog and can discuss the lineage of over 200 Pokémon characters.  

Connor is the reason why I began volunteering at Autism Speaks. Once our family participated in our first Walk, I saw that this was an area where I could contribute (I am a logistics/operations person at heart). So, I reached out and joined the volunteer committee for the New England chapter. I’ve made some great friends, learned a lot and continue to take on more responsibility with the Connecticut, New Hampshire and Boston Walks.  

Although I enjoy the planning beforehand, Walk Day is the best! Just to see all those families coming together makes it all worth it. There are no strangers, everyone is family. To see people making connections with other families, service providers and Autism Speaks staff is great. There’s nothing like standing side by side with my son in a sea of blue pom poms and surrounded by smiling, happy families. I am a believer in giving back, and I include my son in those efforts as it is important to me that he too understands and supports those who are working for the autism community. 

My passion is to see all the progress being made by organizations like Autism Speaks as it relates to education, life experiences and parental support. It will make for a better life in the future for my son and others like him.  

The story shared above represents the experience, views and perspectives of the individual(s) highlighted. We aim to share stories across the spectrum and throughout the life span, but the information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals.

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