Dear Universe, Random Chance, Fate, All Powerful Individuals My Somewhat Suspicious Grandfather Believed Controlled the State Lottery, Etc.,

No, I didn’t address God here.  I do believe in Him.  But I prefer to think He is concerning himself with matters unrelated to state lotteries or NFL football. 

I have heard the unfortunate stories circulating in the past few years about lottery winners who later go on to personal misfortune.  It has occurred to me that this is perhaps the reason you have reservations about letting me win the Powerball lottery.  I know that we don’t actually have the Powerball lottery here in Florida, nor do I actually play it.  But my dad assures me that this should not be a hindrance if I am destined to win.  If it is meant to happen, it will happen.  So, I thought I should outline exactly what I would do with the funds should you rethink the matter and place a winning ticket in my path. 

Here is what I would do with several hundred million dollars:

1. Build a new home — complete with a large sensory-friendly playroom filled with therapy equipment and furniture ideal for preschool learning.  Build a nice guest home a little distance from the house.  Hire a full-time ABA therapist.  Recruit someone awesome with competitive salary and free housing (the guest house).  Yeah, so this one is personal.  But, if I win the lottery, my baby gets taken care of first.  However, he needs socialization and a school.  So…

2.  Put together a team of education experts –some made up of professionals I have worked with in my local school system who are awesome, recruited persons knowledgable in autism and special needs learning, and experts in charter schools and private schools. 

3.  Build an autism charter school or private school here in my hometown.  Staff it with teachers who have experience working with autistic kids, speech/occupation/physical therapists, and ABA therapists and trainers. Design it on a sliding scale of affordability for parents to enroll their children and establish some sort of foundation to assist in keeping it running after the money runs out.  I was an English major.  Somebody else will have to be in charge of that part. 

4.  Found a special needs parent organization designed to establish a chapter in each city – including mine.  The goal being to have a PTA type group looking out for each others’ common needs across a common school system and training some members to be special needs advocates. 

5.  Begin a therapy scholarship for families like ours.  Whose insurance (just yesterday) deemed that their child may not attend locally based speech, occupational, and physical therapy but most drive out of town for 6 therapy sessions per week.  People who can’t quit their jobs to do so.  People who need ABA therapists to travel to remote areas to provide services in little towns that have never heard of ABA.  People who aren’t eligible for any kind of help whatsoever because they are living high on the hog on the equivalent of a teacher’s salary.  People who didn’t sleep a wink last night — eaten up with panic in the witching hours of worry for parents of special needs kids.  Yeah, people like that.

So, you see, I have good plans for these funds.  Certainly better than that guy who put it in the bank and bought an RV, right?  I’m ready, Universe.  Bring it on.  I got this.

13 responses »

  1. Bess says:

    I have a similar list how funny that parents of these children just have such a different outlook on something like money. Before my son was born I would have had such a different storie as to how to spend that cash. Now it would all go to research and making lives of people with autism GREAT with many ideas that you shared thanks for the story I plan to share this.

  2. Samantha Evins says:

    Dear Leigh,

    as a mother of a 12 yr old boy with Aspergers, I look forward to reading what you have to say…makes me laugh, makes me cry. Depends on how the day has gone!
    Thankyou x

  3. I am so sorry you are having to deal with the insurance nonsense on top of everything else. I mean, seriously? Who are these people? I wish I could help. If the powerball comes my way, we WILL build this school. Love you, girl!

  4. I really hope you win so that I can send my daughter to your school. The school thing really gets me down sometimes. If I ever get any extra cash, that’s the first thing I’d do with the money too!

  5. Robin says:

    My sons preschool would be a great model for your school, we don’t pay anything. Unfortunately it’s only a preschool. We have said the same thing about building a school.

  6. Rachel says:

    You can found the parent group without lots of $. Check out, my local parent-created group. They do everything from advocacy to social groups to adult training. The ladies there are amazing and parents just like us!

  7. College for three kids. That’s all I’m saying.

  8. momof2cubs says:

    Love it! 🙂 Great ideas!

  9. Kat says:

    I hope you win! I want my son to go to that charter school! And if I win, I want to do all the things you have listed here. Yesterdays struggle for our family was about which classroom to put our son next year… behavioral class or mainstream as it seems there is nothing in the middle. With so many more children needing these specialized services these days, how on earth is there not a school in our area that is a better fit for him! Each day I wake up knowing I will do/find what is right for him but I also wake up knowing that it wont be easy.
    We both have to buy tickets tonight, that will get us one day closer to building that school!!!
    Thanks for always inspiring me!!!

  10. Lisa says:

    That sounds like a good plan! Now to find that winning ticket….

  11. It is amazing that I have always said I would do the same thing for my autistic grandson! Hope other people think the same way!

  12. Jim Reeve says:

    That’s a fantastic list, and winning the lottery would help. You could start a charity or parent support group without money. I sure would love a new house though. It seems that giving people like us never win the lottery. Now there’s a good question.

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