Autism Rising was established to strengthen rapport and bridge the gap between individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the community.
To prevent unintentional maltreatment and/or fatal injury of individuals with ASD due to lack of awareness.
Christie is the mother of two sons, Christian, 19, and Joshah, 16. Around 8-months old, she noticed that Joshah was not meeting the same milestones as his older brother, Christian. At 18-months old, Joshah was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder with a developmental delay. This delay impairs his social skills and his ability to communicate. Joshah has a limited vocabulary and uses an Accent 800 device to communicate in full sentences.
Raising a child on the spectrum requires patience and thick skin. When Christie's son, Joshah, had a public meltdown and tore down a handicap parking sign, his respite provider called the police. Though she contacted Christie, she failed to mention that she called the police. "Thank God I arrived on the scene before the police did. Just when I finally got my son calm, I looked up to see three police cars surrounding us. An officer began approaching my son without acknowledging me standing there. I stood quiet for a few seconds just to see how the officer was going to proceed." Christie recalls being upset and concerned. She wondered what would have transpired had she not been there. "I could see my son reaching for his communication device and I just could not imagine the outcome being positive. I knew I had to act."
Autism Rising's mission is to bridge the gap between individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the community. "Now that most people are aware of the condition, it is time for interaction. By exposing the community to individuals with ASD, our goal is to prevent unintentional maltreatment and/or fatal injury."
Christie is a Air Force veteran and former Army spouse. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland University College.
Additionally, she obtained her M.A. in Marriage and Family therapy from Liberty University and specializes in working with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is also a doctoral student at her former alma mater, Liberty University. She is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor and a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors.
When she gets spare time, Christie enjoys reading a good book with coffee. "In order to take care of my son, I have to be at my best mentally, physically, and spiritually," says Christie. Being a single mother, she credits her faith with being able to handle the challenges associated with raising a child on the spectrum. Christie is a member of Coastal Cathedral Church of God in Savannah.
Christie Belle, Founder & Managing Director