Jennifer Palmiotto wrote -
Imagine the sadness and loneliness of going through life and not having any friends, let alone going on a date. Now imagine that everywhere you go...out to restaurants, or simply a mall, it seems people are happily coupled. They’re dining together, holding hands, talking, laughing…..all the very things you have never experienced. You feel that aching in your heart when you pass bridal magazines in the grocery store. It seems you can't escape these experiences that bring such sadness. Perhaps another person with autism can understand the depth of the pain? Is it too impossible to dream of being part of a happy couple?
Dating and relationships are difficult enough for “normal” people, but for people on the Autism Spectrum it seems totally out of reach. Despite having the social and communication challenges that are part of being autistic, people with autism desire love and relationships just like everyone else!
Before they met, Anita and Abraham longed to have someone in their life to love and form a deep relationship. Both living with autism, they knew the odds of that ever happening were stacked against them. Then one day, they met at Anita’s Asperger’s Support Group. Over the course of a year, the developed a meaningful friendship. During a celebratory dinner, they fell in love with each other. Already best friends, they became lovers, and soulmates!
Abraham proposed to Anita on Christmas 2014. Under a crisp, star-filled sky, he took her face in his hands to tell her how much he loves her. By a Colorado Blue Spruce tree, he got down on one knee to open the tiny black box containing the engagement ring. He popped the question, she cried as she excitedly said "yes." This magical moment that both had longed for was like an enchanted fairytale.
According to the latest statistics from the CDC, 1 in every 68 children is identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and may have difficulty with change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin in early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.
While autism is associated with neurological differences, people with autism can and do live fulfilling lives including having deep and meaningful relationships. Anita & Abraham have found true love and happiness together. They plan to unite their lives as part of Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart. This couple is having a first-ever ALL-AUTISTIC wedding.
When Anita and Abraham learned of Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart, they knew that they wanted to have their wedding at the conference. This beautiful life event will be truly awe-inspiring. Based on the direction of the bride and groom, the entire wedding party identifies as being on the autism spectrum.
Anita & Abraham alongside Jenny Palmiotto, the host of Love & Autism have put together the most awesome "I Do" Crew in history! The ceremony will be performed by global autism ambassador (and brides best friend), Dr. Stephen Shore. World renowned, Temple Grandin, will provide a pre-recorded heartfelt toast to the bride and groom. Every person involved in the bridal party identifies on the autism spectrum: DJ and Groomsmen (Alex Plank of Wrong Planet), the harpist (Kat Highet), flower girls, ring bearers, ushers, and many of our wedding guests.
Thought leaders in the autism community, Tony Attwood, Donna Williams, and Temple Grandin have written statements as to the importance of this event. You still have a chance to join us and be part of this historic and heart-felt celebration of Love & Autism (& Marriage)!
Together, with the funds raised through this campaign we can give Anita & Abraham the wedding of their dreams. We can also contribute to employing 20+ people on the autism spectrum within various roles at our conference with competitive wages for their meaningful contribution. Statistically, less than 15% of those on the autism spectrum are gainfully employed. From start to finish, everyone involved in the wedding identifies as being on the autism spectrum or has a deep and personal connection to autism. The wedding is planned with Love & Perfection.
With your help we can raise $22,500 which will directly help us cover the following planned expenses:
Cover the cost of the wedding for Anita & Abraham:
o flight and ground transportation for bridal party of 10 individuals with autism participating in this wedding- $3,500
o accommodations for the bridal party and their families for 10 individuals with autism at Marriott Liberty Station in San Diego for 2 nights-$2,500
o Floral arrangements-$800
o bouquets and boutinnaires-DONATED- by BlueBell Florals!!
o champagne toast for estimated 350 wedding guests-DONATED By Rebecca Althoff
o professional photography by parent of a child with autism, Kristina Brant Jenkins - $500
o wedding entertainment- $1,000
o venue at Liberty Station Conference Center -$3,500
o Live Painting By Autistic Savant artist, Michael Tollason - DONATED BY MICHAEL TOLLASON
o catering for tray passed hors d’oeuvres for +300- DONATED By Dinners By David; The French Gourmet, and other local vendors
o wedding entertainment by 3 individuals on the spectrum (harpist, piano, and DJ)-$2,500
o live-stream the event so the world can watch- $2,000
o videography/mini-documentary created and edited by Inclusion Films, a film company that will send a film crew of individuals identifying on the spectrum- $8,000
Any additional funds collected will provide:
o Scholarship funds for individuals on the autism spectrum to attend the 2-day conference including wedding.
Fund Love & Autism for years to come!
We developed Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart with the desire to support those on the spectrum in fostering deeper relationships with self and others. Based on this aspiration, we want to collaborate with you to give Anita & Abraham a wedding day to remember.
But there is more…
When you donate, you are supporting more than Anita & Abraham’s wedding; you will be an integral part in deconstructing the debilitating myth that people on the spectrum do not want or need relationships. Our primary goal in life is to love and be loved; this does not change when you are born with neurological differences associated with autism. Love is an innate and fundamental part of being human. With your contribution, you are standing up for this important belief! This event will have a ripple effect that will impact individuals diagnosed with autism, their families, and society as a whole. Undoubtedly, it will highlight the profound possibilities for companionship and love for all.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our event. You can follow the wedding of Anita & Abraham on our social media platforms as our honorary guests, subscribe to our social media channels at www.loveandautism.com
Again, we hope you take this chance to be part of this powerful event. Every contribution, big or small, is welcome. We are eternally grateful for your thoughtful donation and look forward to seeing you at Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart.
If we don’t meet our goal, we are still doing this great event. But with your help, we can make this wedding the most special celebration of Love & Autism!
With Love & Appreciation,
Dr. Jenny Palmiotto
Founder of Love & Autism
p.s. Your donations will considered a charitable contribution to our not for profit One Day Tomorrow (California Not for profit #45-3267742) and may be tax deductible . We will send you a documentation of your contribution.
p.p.s If 1200 people donate $25.00 dollars, we will meet our goal. Imagine what your contribution will do for those living on the autism spectrum.