Founders Story

Since our son was first diagnosed with autism in 1996, we've watched the incidence rate for autism jump from 1 in 2,500 children to a staggering 1 out of every 68 children in the US today. At the time, we kept asking ourselves, "Is anyone paying attention to these statistics?"

But the truth is these aren't statistics. These are young children, and their families whose lives have been changed by a diagnosis of autism. And, whose opportunities and quality of life could be severely limited without the right programs, treatments and services.

The good news is that children with autism can learn and improve with the right interventions. And, the earlier a child is diagnosed and begins treatment the better the chances for improvement and the long-range outcome for that child.

MichaelIn December 2003, we started NFAR in order to raise funds to help children with autism. As parents, we wanted to see effective treatments, resources and opportunities made available for ALL children with autism. And not just in their early life, but appropriate supports that would help those with autism reach their potential throughout their teen years and into adulthood.

Through our fundraising efforts such as the annual San Diego Race for Autism, we are funding outreach, pilot treatment projects educational programs and transitional studies. NFAR is working to optimize the learning environment for children with autism during school time hours. We are providing new opportunities for young adults with autism through our software testing and technical training programs, expanding their options for employment.

Today, our son with autism is continuing to make progress. He has plans for his future, and we want to give him those opportunities.

Children with autism deserve a future starting today.

Juan and Sharon Leon
NFAR Co-founders