Autism Awareness Month Calls for Inclusion and Acceptance

High School senior Augustin Villarreal.

The goal of many autism organizations is to work towards a world where individuals with autism can reach their full potential and live full lives through connection and acceptance. Local Fort Bend community members are doing just that through the resources and support of organizations like Hope For Three.

“We are all more capable than you think,” said Monica Delahaya, the mother of a teenager on the spectrum. “We were challenged to search for answers, to fight for our son, and to persevere. Thankfully we found Hope For Three, and it was a treasure full of light.”

Augustin Villarreal, affectionately known as Auggie, was born non-verbal and unable to walk. After long periods of testing, a diagnosis of autism, support from family, and dedicated teachers and resourceful organizations, Auggie will soon graduate from Kempner High School. But it wasn’t an easy journey or a simple battle.

Auggie attended a special education pre-school where he was taught to write, speak and learn. He was determined, but so was his teacher, Ms. Ping Lee. Even after Auggie completed Pre-K, and Lee left the school, she remained a constant in his life and still tutors him today.

The resources at Hope For Three alerted Delahaya to Disability Rights Texas, which helps people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights, ensuring full and equal participation in society. Knowing these rights, Delahaya was able to keep Auggie out of self-contained special education classes and in general education classes with his typical peers throughout his education. This school path kept Auggie involved, included and educated with special assistance.

“Families work particularly hard to prepare their children for independence,” said Darla Farmer. “Autism Awareness Month is about sharing our resources, knowledge and building acceptance within the community for people on the spectrum.”

Young Augustin Villarreal.

Through programs at Hope For Three such as Take Me Home, Police Traffic Stops and Teen Huddle, children learn typical safety and social tasks that build independence but also interact with community members, creating awareness about the needs of people with mental illnesses.

A student like Auggie must learn simple tasks, such as ordering food, texting or even counting money with precision and practice. “It was a major life moment when Auggie attended homecoming with a date this fall,” shared Delahaya. “We practiced dancing, manners, how to make dinner reservations and talking to waitstaff, weeks before the actual event. We were all so proud to witness him achieve these typical teen tasks.”

Auggie recently won a cross country team award from Kempner High School and is awaiting acceptance into Texas A&M or the University of Texas. He dreams of being a history teacher.

Hope For Three provided endless resources for the Delahaya family that helped them achieve this success today. “I would have never known about all the help available if not for Hope For Three,” said Delahaya. “But also, the support groups, Teen Huddle and events like Strike Out, kept us involved in a community that could relate to us and built confidence in Auggie to get him where he is today.”

In the United States, the prevalence of autism rose from one in 125 children in 2010 to one in 44 in 2021, and April serves as Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. To learn more about local resources and support Hope For Three, visit