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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
CL x2 $100.00
Susan Woodward $150.00 This is in commitment to Mike and Dmitra Morse and what they have done with their sons for 7 years; in support of others, too. Such courage, but also such great support from professionals.
Dan Feldman $200.00
cindy locke $50.00 Good Luck Jill!! Keep up the research and make a difference.
Erica Reisinger $15.00
Mark Chan $50.00
Mariko Paul $50.00
Jeannie Jung $15.00
Paul & Eileen Gruber $100.00
Jill Locke $100.00
Serina Lee $75.00 Great story-- Mike, you must be a fundraiser! Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family.
Julie Turchin $150.00
Anonymous Donor $200.00 Keep up the amazing work, Alison!
Renee Epstein $50.00
Galli Family $2500.00
Augusto and Laura Lorenzino Sepp $100.00
Barbara Mendelson and David Brody $250.00
Joan and Michael Spero $200.00 In support of the Morse family.
David Lowenfeld and Sally Mendelsohn $250.00
The Barbara and Gary Brandt Family Foundation $250.00
Stephen Goldberg $250.00
Michele Fingerman $100.00
Seth Asser $123.45
Martin Stone $25.00
The Albert Goodstein Family Foundation $250.00
Julie Martin $50.00
Jewish Federation of Cincinnati through the Judy and Mark Petricoff Philanthropic Fund $200.00
Cheryl Bergenfeld $200.00
Jb and Evan Mallah $500.00
Reese and Stan Berman $100.00
Giving Tuesday Match $11115.00 Every dollar donated on Giving Tuesday has been matched by a member of the ASF Board!
Enzo Viscusi $1000.00
Steve and Sally Cohen $100.00
Deb, Dave, Shira, Joey, Abby, & Manny Marmor $200.00
Helene and Phil Tucker $100.00
chris jones $100.00
Paul, Stacey, Nathan and Charlotte Leibowitz $200.00 Lots of love from all of us!
Michael Tusiani $200.00
irene shen $200.00 Happy Holidays. hope for a cure and the why of autism
Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp $100.00
jonathan hacon $200.00
Cheryl & Andy Marshall-Petricoff $100.00 In honor of the Morse-Papagianni Family
Rory and David Jones $100.00
Barbara and Bob Greer $50.00 Beautiful smiles! Happy Holidays!
Joh Gridley $200.00
Douglas and Jamie Lynn $100.00
Jonathan Gold $100.00
Anonymous Donor $100.00
Geoffrey Smith $100.00
Ajul Haria $50.00
Autism Science Foundation
28 W. 39th St. Suite 502 New York, NY 10018
mgilmer@autismsciencefoundation.org