Hope for Three Autism Advocates: A Beacon of Hope for Fort Bend Celebrates 10 Years

The Montgomery Triplets: Lakin, Londyn and Lauren.

COVER STORY | By Patti Parish-Kaminski Photo by Alisa Murray Photography –

Three little girls.  Ten years of advocacy.  Thousands of children and families assisted with aid for autism-related expenses. Thousands more educated about autism. And the story called Hope For Three has just begun.

Inspired in 2011 by the Montgomery family of Richmond, who received the pleasure and heartbreak of having identical triplets all diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism, Hope For Three, Fort Bend’s preeminent nonprofit autism advocacy group, was born.  Their goals are to provide resources and support in the form of financial aid exclusively to families with children diagnosed with ASD and create autism awareness through outreach, education and events.

The Montgomery Triplets

When triplets Londyn, Lakin and Lauren joined big brother Collin in 2006, parents Hope and Eric Montgomery were thrilled – very busy – but delighted.  The triplets were born healthy and strong, and all three girls thrived as babies.  “For the most part, they met their milestones as babies,” shared Hope.  But around two years of age, she noticed some changes.  Lakin exhibited delayed reactions, lack of eye contact, repetitive behavior, disassociation and her verbal communication rapidly ceased.  Shortly after that, Londyn and Lauren showed the same characteristics.

These symptoms are characteristic as falling under the umbrella of ASD or autism, and by age four, the triplets were diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

What is ASD?

ASD, or autism, is a neurological disorder that results in impaired social interaction and communication skills and restricted and repetitive behavior. In March 2020, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, “1 in 54 American children are diagnosed with autism,” making it the leading and fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.

In April 2018, the CDC reported, “In the United States, 1 out of 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls are diagnosed with autism.  Every 11 minutes, a child is diagnosed. By way of comparison, this is more children than are affected by juvenile diabetes, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer combined.”  The study further showed that the prevalence of autism increased 289.5% in the last 12 years.

ASD is a life-long condition without a known cause or cure.  However, children with autism can benefit from proper treatment and early intervention.

Autism Advocates

Hope For Three client Kacy Picazo with Darla Farmer, Hope For Three Chief Executive Officer.

In the Fort Bend County public school systems, over 5,000 children diagnosed on the autism spectrum are enrolled.  And the lifetime cost to care for one individual with autism is estimated to extend up to $2.4 million.  That is where Hope For Three comes in by providing financial assistance solely available to qualified Fort Bend County residents.

Hope For Three’s Family Assistance and Resources Support (FARS) programs provide aid for autism-related expenses to children who may be uninsured or underserved.  Funding is paid directly to approved service providers, treatment facilities or vendors.  “The goal with Hope For Three’s financial component is to bridge the gap between providers and families so we can connect children to the care and support they need at the earliest stage of life possible,” said Darla Farmer, Hope For Three Chief Executive Officer.

Hope For Three is one of the only nonprofits in Fort Bend to focus exclusively on autism and no other disability. They are the only nonprofit in the county to provide financial assistance year-round.

Providing Help

Vanesia Johnson’s son, Christian Clinton, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, now called ASD, at age 14.  “Christian is a multi-disabled male who learned about Lasik surgery at 10 years-old but did not qualify for evaluation until he was an adult,” shared Vanesia.  “Christian has only had one unwavering goal since he was 10 and that was to get Lasik surgery.  He desperately wanted to never have to wear glasses again.”

Christian, now 19, and his mother feared his vision would be deemed too impaired for surgery once he came of age.  Even after the clinic informed the family Christian’s case was the second worst case they had seen, he was deemed eligible for surgery.  “Christian glided out of that exam room as if his feet never hit the ground once the doctors told him they could correct his vision to 20/20,” said Vanesia.  “It’s the only goal he has ever had for himself that required no inspiration, motivation or accountability from anyone.”

For Christian and his mother, now the real struggle began:  how to pay for this life-changing surgery.  Vanesia approached Hope For Three with the need even though she feared the requested amount of assistance was too great.  “I was wrong about all of my negative thoughts,” shared Vanesia.  “I’m so glad I did not allow my ignorance and fears get the best of me.  My son’s longstanding hope of 20/20 vision is fully realized because of their services. I am a believer that Hope For Three delivers on its promise to our community.”

Creating Hope

Jourdin Smith.

Jourdin Smith.

“Mimi” of the coolest grandson ever, as she proudly calls herself, Robin Hines’ grandson Jourdin Smith was diagnosed with autism at age 2.  “He was perfect, and then one day, he completely shut down,” said Robin.  Jourdin was attending Texana Center when he and Robin were introduced to Hope For Three.

“Hope For Three was and still is a blessing adding activities and support for kids who, because of being on the spectrum, did not have atypical outside association,” shared Robin.  “Hope For Three has sponsored family nights, events, parades and more to help Jourdin and others as they navigate in this world living with autism.  It has put him in social situations that have allowed him to have some sense of normalcy in his life.”

At 16, Jourdin is thriving every day through his challenges living on the spectrum. He does very well in school, is an excellent reader and loves his tablet.  “Every family with a child living with autism needs a Hope For Three in their lives,” said Robin.  “They are truly a Godsend!”

The Future Times Three

Today, Londyn, Lakin and Lauren Montgomery are 15 years-old. The expense of raising not one but three children on the autism spectrum is a financial burden the Montgomery family struggles with daily.  “The lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism times three is unimaginable, yet this is where we are,” shared Hope.

Eric and Hope Montgomery.

But Hope For Three has helped the Montgomery triplets and their family every step of the way. “Our goal, as we maneuver autism times three, is to give our daughters the best means to thrive in a world that is often cruel and judgmental;  to be the best that each of them can be; to be loved, healthy, happy and included. Hope For Three is a part of that journey where we inspire families to embrace autism, advocate, educate, take action and never give up.  Autism is not easy. However, having Hope For Three as a beacon of hope, standing in the gap for families who are constantly in battle mode and educating the community is the difference.”


To learn more about Hope For Three’s programs, events or efforts, visit www.hopeforthree.org.