Meet Hayden. He is my best friend's 5-year-old son and he is autistic. Hayden wasn't diagnosed until age 4 because he is what they refer to as "high functioning"...meaning that he can make eye contact & hold a conversation with you. But, he does have the sensory issues & social adjustment challenges that are classically associated with autism. Still, he is one of the sweetest boys you will ever meet - with such a sensitive spirit & a kind heart. We have had a special bond since the moment I first met him. I've watched my best friend fight to get him the services, care & schooling that he needs and comforted her as she has wept, thinking of all the challenges he will face growing up with this disorder.
So many families are affected by autism and Hayden's story is just one among thousands. Unfortunately, there are countless cases much more severe than his. Since knowing him, I have become passionate about learning as much as I can about this disorder & helping to raise awareness. So I was thrilled when I learned that Stella & Dot has created a special line of jewelry, whose sales will benefit an organization dedicated to providing care for those living with autism. During the month of April, 20% of the retail sales from their Autism Awareness Collection will be donated to the HollyRod Foundation.