“One mother’s idea to explain her daughter’s special needs to her kindergarten classmates has blossomed into an entire special needs awareness program at the Mansfield (Massachusetts) public schools.” – The Mansfield News, 01/14/2005
While volunteering in her daughter’s classroom one day, Kim Piro recognized that many typically developing children were unsure of how to interact with Jamie, her autistic daughter. A former psychiatric social worker and now fulltime mother, Kim immediately saw how she could make a difference in the classroom and affect change within her community.
In the fall of 2002, Kim asked Jamie’s teacher if she could come in and read “Captain Tommy” – a fictional story created to help children better understand the challenges faced by kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some extremely rich dialogue soon developed and the iCARE program – Introducing Children to Acceptance through Reading and Education, was born.
The next time Kim visited the school, she saw a big difference in the way Jamie’s classmates were treating her. Jamie’s condition was becoming less of an obstacle and the children couldn’t wait to tell Kim about their successful attempts to engage her.
The Jamie Fund, a 501(c)3, was created to establish the umbrella entity necessary to facilitate iCARE and similar programs.