One afternoon, with his son at therapy, came a moment he will never forget. Joel Price, co-founder of Imagine A Way, overheard a parent pleading for a way to give her child with autism the one thing proven to offer the most hope, but she was unable to afford… therapy.
Joel’s heart sank.
Just a few years before, he and his wife Carolyn were celebrating the birth of their second son Joshua. Autism was a word with no meaning to Joel and Carolyn. But when Joshua was two, they realized something was off. Though assured “boys are just late bloomers” … Joel and Carolyn knew in their hearts that Joshua’s delays were more than that.
They received the official diagnosis in March of 2007. Joshua was two and a half.
Hearing “autism” from your child’s pediatrician is devastating. The word stuns you. You’re thrown into a world of unknowns. This is your child. The person you know will only experience the best that life has to offer. The person that will even be President one day… And now you’re left with questions you never dreamed you would ask…
Will he speak?
Will she drive?
Will she go to college?
Will he live independently?
Will I ever hear the words “I love you”…?
Yet, as a parent, there’s little time to mourn the loss of what you think might have been. This is the person you will go to the ends of the earth to help. Now you must carve a new path. While the cause of autism is unknown, what has been proven with indisputable evidence is that therapy at a young age offers the best opportunity for a child to reach their full potential.
Joel and Carolyn were fortunate that insurance covered their therapy at the time Joshua needed it most. Joshua has flourished as a result. Not every family is as fortunate.
Everyone has a number with autism. Joshua’s was $37,500 a year. Unfortunately, without insurance, many parents simply cannot afford this. An expense of this magnitude is difficult to absorb even in the best of circumstances. Parents should not have to walk this journey worrying about whether they’re able to afford treatments that are proven to help their child. But for many, that is exactly where they find themselves; often surprised that their insurance will not support their needs.
The mother pleading for her son lit a spark in Joel and Carolyn. That afternoon at the therapist’s office, Joel heard a mother desperate for that opportunity. But for her child, because the expense was beyond their means, therapy would have to wait. And just like that, the crucial window of opportunity for her child was lost. Joel and Carolyn determined that night, there had to be a way to help families like hers. During that conversation, Imagine A Way was born.
In 2010, Joel and Carolyn invited a group of friends to hear their story. Their passion to help inspired those in the room. This incredible group of friends would find a way to stand in the gap for the families in need.
They would help families Imagine A Way.
Today, Imagine A Way stands in the gap, helping families that cannot absorb the significant costs of treatment. Helping families imagine and realize their child’s full potential.