Audley has been a long-time supporter of United Way both as a donor and as a volunteer. He did this because he thought it was the right thing to do. It never dawned on him that one day his family would benefit from United Way funded programs.
He and his wife had no idea what to do when their doctor told them that their daughter, Jahleesa was autistic. Autism is a disorder of neural development that can manifest itself in many ways. Jahleesa, has severely delayed speech.
“There are so many opinions, studies and research on autism that you don't know exactly where to turn and what was a bigger question: Would our daughter ever be able to speak?” reflects Audley.
A United Way funded program provided by Brampton Caledon Community Living has helped Audley and his family deal the many challenges his daughter has and will face. They received referrals to other community services that provided resources to help them. But most importantly they received hope and the knowledge that they aren’t alone in their struggle.
Five years after her diagnosis, Jahlessa’s speech is improving and she has even learnt a bit of sign language.
“To hear Jahleesa say, `Can I have juice please`` has been really special,” says Audley. “And I must admit that she`s almost guaranteed to get juice when she asks.”