VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) – The Maha’s are like many families, learning as they go while raising two children and juggling work. But with an autistic son, everyday life is challenging.
“When we go grocery store for instance, it’s difficult. A 10 minute trip for me without him can become 2 or 3 hours and on top of it, you put Juda in the picture, my two year old, and it becomes even more challenging,” said Michele.
Abram was diagnosed with autism at age 4.
“He started to become very withdrawn and lost all his words, all the single words he had it all went away.”
Michele realized the difficulties others had engaging Abram when he would return from children’s activities with his brother without crafts like everyone else.
With the support from their community, the Maha’s are working to create a respite center for children with special needs and caregivers who need a break.
“We already have a really huge volunteer base and these are physicians, medical students, nurses.”
Centrally located in downtown Birmingham, the center would also give special needs children the help they need without a financial burden on the parents.
“The biggest primary restriction to a lot of families is cost and if you can provide something that’s free that they would not have to worry about that would bring in a lot more families who absolutely can need it,” said Julian Maha.
The ACTS Connect Center would make it possible for families to get a one stop place to learn all about the disorder, and connect with other families who are in this same place in life.
An all volunteer professional medical staff would offer help in watching after the children when needed.
Support for the center has grown quickly. The Maha’s are actively searching for property in the Birmingham area to begin work on the center.