STORY OF C.H.A.S.E.
The C.H.A.S.E. organization was inspired by a young boy named Chase who is diagnosed with high-functioning autism.
Like many families, Chase’s family felt a mix of emotions when their son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents of children with ASD confront their deepest wells of loss and strength when they accept their child’s strengths and limitations. Still overwhelmed with his diagnosis and daily behavior, Chase’s family did what many ASD families do. They changed homes and schools. They drained their financial resources to access the area’s best ASD services. The remedy, however, became an equally challenging part of the problem.
Like many students on the autism spectrum, Chase was isolated and alone, even in his new school. His approach to peers brought more rejection than connection, his poor impulse control interrupted learning for others, and his classmates feared his meltdowns and repetitive ways. Parents of other fourth grade students complained to school officials. Why did one child get to interrupt learning? Chase’s parents, classmates’ parents, teachers, and school officials were desperate for solutions.
Educational and healthcare privacy prevented school officials from naming and explaining autism to Chase’s classmates. Not knowing if the problems would get better or worse. Chase’s parents requested ASD education to the fourth grade students that was tailored specifically to the needs of their son. They were given permission to disclose Chase’s diagnosis to his classmates. It was a huge risk for everyone. The risk paid off- the fourth grade was transformed. Social conflict dropped 75% and the idea to help other classrooms, schools, and communities, through identified, person-specific ASD education, was born.