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In raising twin boys with autism, it has become second nature to explain why we do things a little differently. And yet, I was having trouble articulating to friends why a photographer was coming to our home to document my family baking cookies for autism research. This year, we volunteered to participate in the Autism Science Foundation’s annual “Recipe4Hope” fundraiser, which honors families celebrating the holidays and raises critically needed funds for autism research.

Vasili (the younger twin by five minutes) was fascinated by sifting the flour. He put his hand out and laughed when it turned white as the flour sprinkled down. Yanni (his older brother) really applied himself to stirring in the sugar and butter. By the time the cookie dough was ready to roll, it was a party.

I have to admit that for my wife Dimitra and me this started out as more work than play. But soon even we were having fun. Yanni had a wide-eyed, greedy look and was laughing from deep in his belly as he rolled the dough flat. Vasili, meanwhile, figured out that we didn’t want him to eat the raw dough, so he invented a game of sneaking a bit into his mouth at every lapse of our concentration.

When the cookies were safely in the oven, it finally hit me. The boys, age 7, are non-verbal. It’s not clear how much language they understand. They cannot perform even basic tasks on their own. Yanni used to gag at the mere sight of dough. Vasili was once so tactile averse that it took days and lots of tears to teach him to hold a fork. And yet, here we were, rolling dough, interacting, and having tremendous fun as a family. How did we do it? Because of years of therapy, because of a commitment to understand Yanni and Vasili on their own terms, and because of so many dedicated professionals who helped them and us.

Scientific research has fueled our kids’ progress. Science isn’t just the hi-tech stuff, like genetics and new medicines. Research has developed therapies that help kids and adults with autism develop practical skills and social awareness. In any other era, our boys would almost certainly have had a miserable existence. But Yanni and Vasili are easily the happiest people we know, and their laughter is infectious.

That is why we support the Autism Science Foundation - science is the reason the boys are as happy as they are, and why we can enjoy this time with them. And because we know that many more answers are still needed for families like ours.

Your tax-deductible donation to the Autism Science Foundation will help fund scientific research to help Yanni, Vasilli and thousands of kids and adults like them. Support at any level is very much appreciated. Every dollar counts for autism research. If you are able to send a donation of $100 or more, ASF will send you a holiday oven mitt, just like the ones we used to bake our cookies. Thank you so much for your support.

Wishing you a warm holiday season,

Mike Morse
ASF Supporter

Recent Donations

Name Amount Comment
Molly, Seth, Rosey & Lily Limmer $250.00 With love and support for our nephews Yannis & Vasilis and the whole family.
Mike Morse $500.00 Seeing these pictures again reminds us how much fun we had. We highly recommend cooking together! Kudos to Alison for doing an amazing job with the foundation. - Mike & Dimitra
Alison Singer $50.00
Autism Science Foundation
28 W. 39th St. Suite 502 New York, NY 10018