COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A new nonprofit here in central Ohio is working to help minority families who have kids with Autism.
A local mother, Montoya Rogers, is behind the efforts.
Rogers launched Puzzle Mom a few days ago and already she’s hearing from parents who are thankful for what she is doing.
She hopes to use what she’s learned raising her son to help others.
“Tre is definitely my motivation, along with my daughter,” Rogers said of her son Tre.
Tre was diagnosed with Autism about four years ago. At the time, it was something Montoya had no experience with. She didn’t have any friends or family who could relate, either, so she was learning a lot on her own.
“There was support out there, but nothing I could culturally connect with, so I thought it would be very important to provide that missing piece I felt I was missing to other mothers,” Rogers said.
That’s where her idea for Puzzle Mom was born. According to the CDC, Black and Hispanic children are less likely to be identified with Autism. Rogers said when they are diagnosed, it’s often later, so they miss out on early interventions. One of her biggest learning curves with Tre was figuring out the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.
“I took four months off work, FMLA with no pay,to help Tre, to get through the process, to understand his diagnosis, and if I could be of any assistance to any mom in that situation so they don’t have to take that type of recourse of action,” Rogers said. “I want to be that blessing”
Through Puzzle Mom trainings and support groups, she hopes to help other minority parents be the best advocates possible.
“Awesome,” Tre said of his mom’s new endeavor.
“Think it’s awesome?” Rogers asked him. “What else do you think about Puzzle Mom?”
“It can help kids that’s diagnosed with Autism,” Tre said.
Tre will be right by his mother’s side as she continues to advocate for her son while helping others.
“I tell him all the time that he has superpowers, and I think his superpowers have rubbed off on me and we are going to be superheroes together,” Rogers said.
For more on Puzzle Mom, click here.