When it comes to autism services, progress doesn’t start and stop with each session; the clinical staff with Easterseals Bay Area (ESBA) make it a point to involve the family members closest to the client so the day’s lessons continue outside of session time. At ESBA, our Ambassador Families are selected because the progress made with their care team is an example of the effectiveness of family investment and dedicated clinicians, and each year their experiences are documented in a short film.

The ESBA 2018 Ambassadors, Malik and Mirabel, have deeply loving families and committed clinical teams who encourage inclusion, thoughtfulness, patience, and compassion.

Both Ambassador Families have a child on the autism spectrum, as well as children who are not. Having children close in age when one has special needs can be challenging at times for parents (just like with any siblings), but joining in on sessions—like Malik’s speech therapy—helps to educate the family. “I’ve learned to teach my other children how to interact with him, so that they can really play with each other,” says Malik’s mom, Ruthie. “We function more as a whole unit with services. It’s amazing—it’s a true transformation.”

With twins like Mirabel and her neurotypical sister, Morriah, involving them equally in Mirabel’s in-home sessions is key for nurturing their relationship. “They’ve found their bond again. They always come back and find that center. It’s just precious, because there’s nobody that has a connection as close as twins,” says Tim, their father, about Mirabel’s behavior interventionist bringing projects for them to complete as a team.

Both families can be found spending quality time together, whether they’re playing board games, visiting friends and relatives, or watching movies. When it comes to developing happy and healthy families, our 2018 Ambassador Parents agree that building the most inclusive home environment for their children is what makes it possible. “The whole family has learned how to have better interactions with each other,” says Jessica, Mirabel’s mother. “We found the happy medium so we can all know each other better.”

Malik & Mirabel’s Ambassador Stories will premiere during our 20th Annual Spring Gala on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Follow Easterseals Bay Area on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to watch their journeys unfold throughout 2018!

Written by:
Abigail Guerdat, Communications & Grants Associate, Easterseals Bay Area

Abigail has been with ESBA since 2016, and supports Communications and Development for the organization. She helps to bring in new partners and funding for ESBA’s programs, and loves bringing client stories to life for donors, staff, and other families affected by disability.

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