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Spectrum Spotlight

Meet the Messineo Family...


Twins, Andrew and Joshua are 15 and Colby who is 13. All three boys have been diagnosed with moderate to severe autism.  Mom and dad – Debra and Michael – are loving parents that want nothing more for their three boys than to be able to have the programs and services that they need to live their life to the fullest potential. Due to the children’s diagnosis and daily challenges, Debra is a stay at home mom while Michael works full time to support the family.

Andrew is a social butterfly who is always asking questions and carefully observing his surroundings. He is very rigid with his routines, and when they change he is subject to head self-injurious behaviors such as head banging and biting himself. He may also run away or grab others. Joshua is also prone to self-injurious behaviors when he gets agitated. Colby has started at a residential school program for his own safety. On top of his autism diagnosis he also has an intellectual disability (his IQ is around 40) and he requires 24 hour supervision that a residential program provides. Colby comes home every other weekend and on holidays to spend time with his brothers and parents. 

The twins love to be out in the community and having fun bowling and going to arcades, children’s museums and the light shows at Jordan’s Furniture. While out in the community they work on valuable life skills such as greeting people properly and paying for items on their own. These outings provide valuable social interactions for the boys outside of their family unit. 

In order for Debra and Michael to keep the boys safe on their outings they needed a family helper to come along. While not in the family budget nor covered by insurance, Spectrum for Hope’s Hope Fund Grants were able to provide funding for 50 hours of service by a qualified family helper so the boys could enjoy events outside of

their home. 

The Messineo’s also wanted to send Andrew and Joshua to Dream Oaks Camp – a special needs camp in Florida who offers an amazing autism week. The family has looked into many camps in Massachusetts, but the severity of their children’s diagnosis and other factors frequently disqualify them from attending. Not only is this wonderful camp appropriate for the children, the 4 days away from the kids offer mom and dad some respite and a chance

to recharge. 

While the family’s insurance company would like to see a more updated medical report on the boys, they will not pay for the neuro psych report necessary to determine their current needs. Therefore, Debra and Michael also asked for a grant to help defray the cost of this much needed medical report. 

Andrew’s school recommended he use meditation and breathing applications on his iPhone to help him stay calm and focused as well as the new Apple Spire which will alert him and others when his heart rate is rising and remind him to stop and chance in on his anxiety level so he can self-regulate. Unfortunately Andrew’s current device doesn’t support the breathing and meditation apps, so the family was looking to upgrade him to a pre-owned iPhone 6. The family was also looking to get Josh a MotivAider device which sets gentle reminders throughout the day to help him focus with the goal of him starting to replace troublesome behavior with new, better habits. 

Messineo Family 2.jpg
Messineo Family.jpg

Lastly, Debra and Michael were hoping to purchase security cameras around their home so they could monitor all of the boys even if their attention was diverted to one of them. With the unpredictability of the boy’s behaviors, this piece of equipment is essential in keeping them safe from harm. 

Through the generous support of our donors we were able to fully fund the Messineo’s $5,000 grant request to help their boys get the treatment they need, remain in the community and most importantly stay safe. Thank you all for your support of families in Massachusetts of multiple children with disabilities!    

Support families with multiple children
with disabilities in Massachuettes

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