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April is Autism Awareness Month, and we’re celebrating by highlighting one of our partners – the Autism Hope Alliance (AHA)! Some people in the Autism community have seen improvement by following a gluten free and casein free diet. All Enjoy Life products are gluten and casein free, and suitable for this diet. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we interviewed Kristen Gonzalez, the President of AHA, to give our readers an inside look at some of the experts in our community!
Enjoy Life: What is the mission of AHA and when was it founded?
Kristin: The Autism Hope Alliance was founded in December 2008 and embodies hope for families facing the diagnosis of Autism through education, financial support and volunteerism.
Enjoy Life: What is your role at AHA?
Kristin: I serve as the President. My job is to help us connect with companies that care to make a difference in the Autism community so we can help as many families as we can.
Enjoy Life: How does AHA work with partners like Enjoy Life?
Kristin: We work together to help change lives by providing resources and education, and through our partnerships, we are able to offer more scholarships.
Enjoy Life: Why is a gluten‑free/casein‑free diet beneficial to Autism community?
Kristin: Many of our families see great benefit from removing gluten and dairy, as often many are intolerant or sensitive to both. By removing both, the individual often reports feeling better, and they, in turn, do better.
Enjoy Life: How can our community increase awareness of Autism and research?
Kristin: Stay connected to non-profits like the Autism Hope Alliance to learn more, and show your support by sharing your cause in ways that continue to bring a positive message!
Enjoy Life: Any special advice for someone with Autism?
Kristin: That’s a hard question. Autism is a large spectrum and everyone is different. I would give advice more to others that don’t have Autism, and that would be to have patience and understanding, and to show love for those with Autism and their families, as often life is a bit more challenging. A smile and taking time to learn more can go a long way! Never judge.
Enjoy Life: What is so special about Enjoy Life to you and your organization?
Kristin: Enjoy Life brings back a feeling of what my childhood was like. As a kid, I didn’t grow up with food sensitivities or food allergies and when my own son was diagnosed with Autism and food allergies, it was so hard to find anything that even looked like what I was used to. Having a company like Enjoy Life who offers delicious products that my son would not know didn’t have the top allergens in them is priceless. A kid should just worry about being a kid; they shouldn’t have to worry about what is in their cookie other than more chocolate chips. Our organization loves Enjoy Life because it takes away one less thing for a family to worry about, and allows them to just worry about making more memories together.