The Anastasi Family

Raising a family in 2015 is challenging for anyone… but for a family with multiple children with special needs, challenging is an understatement.

Meet the Anastasi Family. Mike and Sandra have three children, one typically developing child (Sara – age 13), and two with special needs (Jenna – age 11 and Michael age – 10). Jenna is diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, the most physically disabling of the Autism Spectrum disorders. She requires 24-hour-a-day care, and her symptoms include loss of speech and motor control, disordered breathing, severe digestive complications, orthopedic abnormalities, extreme anxiety, seizures and tremors. Michael is diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. His challenges are less physical, but behaviorally just as taxing. Their oldest, Sara, while typically developing, is emotionally affected.

The impact of their children’s diagnoses were initially devastating to the Anastasi Family. They soon discovered that it really does “take a village to raise a child”, and this “village” needed to be educated. With the lifelong happiness of their children in mind, the family made it their mission to educate their local community on their children’s disabilities. In 2013, The Anastasi Fund was started with the primary goal of raising awareness and education, while providing invaluable research dollars to aligned organizations to fund an ultimate cure. In a short two years, the success of the fund has made a huge impact on so many affected families. Through fundraising, the Anastasi’s have been able to grant affected families dollars to support their children when insurance could not. They have provided therapy, technology, respite and leisure. This has been extremely rewarding and therapeutic to Mike and Sandra. In their work, they realized that they were not alone. In fact, there were many other families sharing a similar journey. This realization changed their direction and focus.

The family’s newest venture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation called Spectrum For Hope, supporting families of multiple children with special needs. The foundation is aligned with the Anastasi Fund’s core values and will continue to increase awareness for all Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s), including Rett Syndrome and like disabilities. The foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected and the families who care for them. Spectrum For Hope is committed to supporting these families by providing funding and financial assistance for various therapeutic, educational, medical and recreational opportunities. In addition, Sprectrum For Hope will continue to partner with organizations to fund research for a cure for these disorders.

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