Destined to find Hope For Three

From L to R: Pictured is the Lynch family, now living in Indiana. Max 13, Lindsey 15, Mom, Carla and Dad, Billy, Ryan 12, and front row, Michael, 7.
Destiny can be a winding road, but it usually leads you exactly to the right place. For the Lynch family, their journey included a family loss, a layoff, and a move from rural Indiana to Houston’s big city, all while adjusting to life with a son on the autism spectrum.

When Billy Lynch brought his family to Sugar Land for his new job, his first priority was to continue vital early intervention treatment for his son. Max was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at age two, shortly after his parents recognized his lack of response and communication. At the time, Billy wasn’t in denial; his son was different from his other children developmentally, but he was terrified of the label. However, his wife knew an official diagnosis was the only way to get Max the treatment he needed. And with that quick intervention while in Indiana, Max took to his therapies.

Unfortunately, in Houston, the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy Max needed wasn’t included in the new job’s insurance policy, adding to the family expenses. After research, Billy was fortunate enough to find Patrick, a retired special education teacher who could provide Max with ABA and tutoring support.

But it wasn’t until the family made a second move within Missouri City, they were introduced to an organization that would eventually fulfill and assist with all their needs. While teaching his son to ride a bike just down the street from the new home, a neighbor reached out. She recognized the iconic puzzle piece sticker indicating autism awareness on the Lynch family vehicle. This friendly neighbor proceeded to tell them about Hope For Three.

The local nonprofit and advocacy organization that works to raise community awareness and provide resources and support to families with children diagnosed with ASD soon became the Lynch family lifeline. Hope For Three was able to offer financial support for Max’s therapies and school tuition. Plus, they built a network of friends and support groups, all with similar circumstances.

While buying a new cell phone, Billy was introduced to the perfect school for his family through another turn of destiny. Max actually became the first student on the spectrum to attend Southminster School, a private elementary and preschool that utilizes technology, creativity, and innovation to help children excel. When Max and his sister enrolled in this nurturing school, the administration ensured Max had everything he needed to succeed. They fully embraced the theory of focusing on what a child can do instead of what a child cannot do.

By fifth grade, Max gained independence they had never seen in him before. He no longer needed aid in each class or to be escorted around the school. He was succeeding and functioning beyond what his parents imagined possible when Max was first diagnosed.

In 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic, the Lynch family returned to Indiana. Having to decide between public or private school while learning online courses weighed heavily on the family. After a conversation with Max and observing his newfound confidence and independence, they settled on the public school’s virtual courses to start 6th grade. The school recently returned to face-to-face classes, and, with all the pride in his heart, Billy watched his son stand tall and walk confidently into the school with his cousins and siblings without any assistance.

Billy greatly attributes his son’s success to his wife’s dedication, the aids they found along the way, Hope For Three, and the resources and support they were able to provide his family in their most significant time of need. “Without question, Hope For Three, and Darla Farmer, completely, without a doubt, changed our son and our family’s life. And we know we are only one of many. A true answer to our prayers,” said Billy.

For the last decade, Hope For Three has worked tirelessly to raise community awareness and provide resources and support, in the form of financial aid, to families with children diagnosed with ASD. They’ve directly impacted more than 4,400 families who requested help or resources. To celebrate the last ten years, Hope For Three will host “The Temple Experience,” featuring the world’s most famous person on the spectrum, Dr. Temple Grandin, on Feb. 20 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Learn more about this special event and Hope For Three autism resources and referrals at www.hopeforthree.org