EDITOR: The CATS program is a lifeline for parents of autistic children, and it is in danger. A victim of state budget cuts, Sonoma State University is only able to fund one semester per year.

Families that rely on this program for support, education and respite will now be limited to only one semester per year, leaving them in desperation. These remarkable students reach into the world of autistic children and often become the only friend they have. For those who are not affected by autism, having a friend may seem like no big deal, but for these kids making a friend can be a life-changing event.

There are an estimated 745 children with autism in Sonoma County, roughly one in 91. Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism spectrum. A program such as CATS is critical.

This award-winning two-semester course has provided 15,000 hours of direct services to children and their families. On behalf of all the families that are deeply appreciative of and dependent on the CATS program, we are asking the community to help us.

Go to sonoma.edu/development/howto.html to see how you can help.


Santa Rosa