My name is Kelly Shen. Since arriving in the United States in 2002, I have lived in Atlanta. I have 4 children; out of these four children, my second child, Samuel, was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 5 and my third child was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.
When I got Samuel’s diagnosis in 2013, my mind went blank. I couldn’t do anything except cry. Fortunately, the Emory Marcus Center provided us with the contact information of professionals in this field. Due to language barriers, issues with transportation along with our lack of understanding regarding this disability, my husband only managed to successfully contact one autism center. This institution offered Speech and OT services, so my family was finally able to start this difficult journey.
Shortly after, we began to realize that my second son also has Asperger’s. I had to learn the best ways to support my children. I discovered that my insurance company would pay up to 20 hours of ABA therapy per week, the places to find a good ABA therapist, and our family’s role in guiding them. I gathered any information I could find, learning about intestinal health and radiation hazards. I tested out many new methods of helping my children, embracing the methods that benefited them. I also came to realize the emotional strains that my children inadvertently placed on our familial relationships, and the importance of early treatment.
In 2015, I joined the WeChat group, True Love is Your Soul. This community opened my eyes to a whole new world as I gained knowledge and met many experienced parents. We encouraged and learned from each other, becoming good friends in the process.
I often think about my choices. What if my children had been diagnosed and begun ABA therapy earlier? What if I had joined this community and met these parents ahead of time?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to teleport back in time to change the past; however, I do know that I have the ability to help parents like myself by providing information and support to them. My desire to lend a hand to them lead me to establish True Love.
Of course, I realize that many Chinese parents have the ability to get their children through school and ensure their child’s safety and health during the early years of their life: when their children reach adulthood, however, these parents are not able to provide their children with stable jobs. We should work together to find a solution for this problem and this belief pushed me to create True Love.
I have a place in my heart for all families struggling with autism since I have children dealing with autism and know how difficult it can be.
As a result, I founded the non-profit organization, True Love for Hope, in February 2018. During this time, I received much support from Rose Jarboe, Wenjing Zhao, Jing Leng, Shi Li, Alex Song, Yifan Qin and Liu Xingang.
I firmly believe that where there is hope, there is love. I hope that our collective love can support all of our families! I hope that True Love becomes our organization that exists for all of us!
Kelly Shen January 17, 2019