Welcome to P.A.S.S.

Message from the President

Pike Autism Support ServicesA Message from Jeannemarie Passaro, President of the Board of Directors

Welcome to PASS.

When my son was diagnosed almost twenty years ago, little was known about Autism. We live in a rural area and believe it or not, it was before the casual use of the internet we are so accustomed to today.  So information was limited, we learned everything the hard way.  I’ll never forget when our son was diagnosed, we were given the dreadful news that we might as well accept he’ll be institutionalized, to which my husband calmly said to me, we are not accepting a life-sentence for our three year old son. We will learn everything we can about Autism and do everything in our power to see that he has a happy and fulfilling life, and so …Our journey began.

It was overwhelming, but we read everything we could get our hands on. We learned about ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) and all the different therapies, but perhaps the smartest thing we did was connect with a parent support group in NJ where we met once a month with parents of children with Autism.  We weren’t alone. There was hope. We began to feel empowered. When we found more and more parents here in Pike County dealing with the same issues and professionals that were willing to join us and learn about Autism, we decided to create our own support group and tackle issues specific to our county and state.

Like that sweet poem about friendship, people come in to your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, so it goes with Support Groups. Many people take advantage of the support, information and resources for a brief moment in time.  Others like the feeling of being a part of an exclusive group that is non-judgmental and can understand where you are and what you’re going through. Then there are the “lifers”, like me, whose work will never be done. So there is room for everyone. We have tried to address the needs of families as best we can, teaching parents how to advocate, learning how the “systems’ work, current best practices in therapies and education and leading by example. Personally I feel it is critical that we take care of ourselves along the way. Autism is not a sprint…. its’ a marathon.  I hope that I have been and will continue to be an example of someone who others will look at and see the benefits of humor and laughter as daily supplements. Never underestimating the therapeutic benefits of “Martini’s, Dancing and Day Spas” and when all else fails to do the trick, there is nothing wrong with a full-blown cry.

I hope that wherever you are along this journey, PASS can help you along your way.

I continue to be rejuvenated and inspired by the new families that have joined us recently and professionals who share our vision. Their passion and energy are contagious.  Please join us as we continue to make North East Pa. a community we can all be proud to call home. There is so much work ahead of us to insure that we fulfill our mission and afford all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders every opportunity to lead happy and fulfilling lives in a safe and welcoming environment.

Thank you for your support –  Hope to see you at a meeting!

Jeannemarie