Being a parent can be rewarding, like watching your child learn and grow into a beautiful person. But it’s tough to be a parent, and you might find yourself tired, overwhelmed, confused…the list can go on and on. As a parent of an autistic child, new challenges and obstacles arise, and Jennifer Korb helps parents with autistic children find their supportive community. She can do this through her role as the Executive Director of the Autism Society of Colorado (ASC).
“The purpose of the Autism Society of Colorado is really to be the connector,” Jennifer says. “One of the things that are so important when you have a child with autism is finding people that are your community.”
Before Jennifer was a part of the ASC, one of her sons, Hayden, was diagnosed with autism and an intellectual disability at the age of three. Jennifer and her husband, Gary, began researching autism and different forms of therapy to further understand the best way to take care of their son.
“Since then, it’s kind of grown and morphed and changed our lives in the most beautiful of ways,” Jennifer says. “It’s afforded me a career path that I didn’t see coming, but I am so grateful.”
Hayden is now 11, and Jennifer is helping families that find themselves confused, overwhelmed, or don’t know where to start.
The ASC connects families to important resources they might need and opens them up to a caring village. For example, they connect families with a support group or a sensory-friendly community event.
The journey can be lonely and isolating, and that’s why ASC helps families find that community where they belong and where they can meet like-minded parents, Jennifer says.
It can be complicated to access some events that most families might consider basic, like going to the zoo or seeing a movie. The ASC has great partnerships that host sensory-friendly events, including the Butterfly Pavilion, Colorado Rapids, and Denver Nuggets.
“It takes some thoughtful partnerships and preparing of the environment so that it’s safe for families to be able to come and access some of those activities.”
There are resources out there for parents, but even the referrals from doctors or advice from therapists can become overwhelming. The ASC can help people navigate these resources and help parents better understand their children.