Monday, August 11, 2008

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, I can't believe that it's going by so quickly. Dougie just finished summer school, so we are packing up our RV and heading down to our house in Florida for a few weeks (before football season starts and Doug has to go back to work as a college football analyst for ESPN/ABC). Dougie does very well when we travel down to Florida, he enjoys riding in the RV (we drive because that eliminates the stress of flying for all of us) and we go to our own house so Dougie is very familiar with it and very comfortable there (which eliminates the stress of staying at different hotels). Our house is fairly close to Disney World so we are able to make day trips to the different parks. Dougie handles the crowds great and enjoys the lower key rides, his favorite rides are the Buzz Light Year ride and the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom, but we only go to the parks a day here or there, a week straight would be to much for him (and us, haha!).

We spend a lot of time just hanging out at the house relaxing and swimming in the pool. Dougie has become quite the good swimmer this year. Our pool in Florida is salt water and only 6' deep (in the deep end) so now that Dougie is about 5'7" he can swim into the deep end and push his feet off the bottom and the salt water helps him to float better and because of this he has learned that if he kicks his feet and uses his arms he can swim back and forth across the pool. It's awesome, he just started doing this this summer, so now when we are home in our house in MA and he swims in the pool there (which is deeper and not salt water) he has the confidence and knowledge to kick his feet and use his arms, so now he swims great there too!! We are very proud of Dougie!!

I want to thank everyone who joined us for the Harley Ride and party at the Hard Rock Cafe on August 3rd. Everyone at Pitching in for Kids and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation did a great job planning such a fun event, the Flutie Brothers Band played at the Hard Rock and we all had a great time!! Thanks also to Pitching in for Kids for being so generous to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, we really appreciate your kindness!!!

Thanks again for your continued support and generosity! Don't forget the Eastern Bank Flutie 5K Road Race on September 14th! Hope to see you there!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Laurie Flutie

Friday, August 1, 2008


We are sad to announce that Melisa MacDonald (formerly Joyal) will be leaving us in early August after close to 5 years of employment here at the Foundation. Melisa has been a tremendous asset to the Foundation and very committed to her work. All of us here will truly miss her, however, we want to wish her the best of luck in her new career as a guidance counselor at Kennedy Middle School in Natick.

On another note, most of you have heard by now about Michael Savage’s absurd remarks on his nationally syndicated talk show claiming autism is a “fraud” and that in “99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out”. Many people in the autism community have responded to his comments by writing very thoughtful and well written letters.

The Flutie Foundation also responded to Mr. Savage’s comments with the following statement:

"Mr. Savage’s remarks are inappropriate and show no respect for all families affected by autism. He obviously lacks the necessary education to understand the disorder and likely has not spent quality time around children and families struggling to cope with autism.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but Mr. Savage should have done a better job of educating himself before expressing his views on the radio.

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism remains committed to providing support for financially disadvantaged families who need assistance in caring for their children with autism through educational services and equipment."

The Boston Herald printed this Statement on Saturday, July 26th. Here is the link to the article.

Thank you to everyone who has been a loyal supporter of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism over the past ten years. We are here to help families get the services, education and resources they need and are grateful to those who have contributed their time, money and encouragement to our organization.

Lisa Borges
Executive Director

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Checking in!

Wow! It’s been a while since I have been able to post here! It all started over a month ago when Dougie got ill with the flu. It was the second time that month that he had fallen ill. He had strep throat earlier in the month that knocked him down and out for about a week and a half. It is difficult when any child gets sick, but what upsets us so much when Dougie gets sick is the fact that he is nonverbal and he can't tell us that he feels sick or tell us what's wrong with him, so it can definitely be very challenging, but we manage to figure it out and get him on the road to recovery.

As any parent of a child with autism knows, new challenges arise all the time. We have discovered that plane travel with Dougie has become one of them. He actually doesn't mind flying, it doesn't bother him at all, but it is hard to explain to Dougie that the man sitting in the seat in front of him doesn't want his headphones suddenly ripped off his head with no warning at all or the lady behind him doesn't want to share her peanuts as Dougie helps himself, again with no warning at all. He also feels that the seat belt rule should not apply to him and now that Dougie is bigger and stronger it is much harder to make him sit down when he doesn't want to. It is kind of funny, but I get really stressed out because I feel that not all people will be understanding, although we haven't had anyone complain so far. We decided to look into other means of travel, we ended up purchasing a small RV and we now drive to our vacation destinations. It has worked out quite well, Dougie loves it and he can be as loud as he wants and grab what he wants and none of us are stressed out, he even keeps his seat belt on. Neither Doug nor I have ever camped or had an RV before, but we are becoming quite good at empty and filling all of our tanks and I even know how to put in the antifreeze and winterize the RV. It is a whole new experience for all of us, but it has been a wonderful way to spend time with our family. Speaking of family, our daughter Alexa turned 20 in March, so Doug and I feel officially old now that she isn't a teenager anymore. I don't know where the time goes!

I also wanted to thank everyone who joined us for our annual conference back in March and congratulate Heidi Bowden again on receiving the 2008 Doug Flutie, Jr. Award for her dedication to those afflicted with autism as well as other disabilities. Heidi exemplifies what the Doug Flutie, Jr. award is all about through her dedication to the Annual Maine Autism Resource Fair, her Girl scout Troop for "girls with varying abilities" and most importantly as a mother to a child with autism, her daughter Addie. She is truly an inspiration to all of us and we are proud to honor her. I only wish I could have been there to present this award to her in person, but as you know sometimes our mom duties take priority over everything else.

Doug and I also wanted to thank everyone who participated at the 9th Annual Doug Flutie, Jr. Celebrity Golf Classic on June 23rd & 24th. We are amazed by the continued support of our major sponsors like Sun Life Financial, Sports Illustrated, Continental Airlines, The Hyatt Regency in Boston, Pinehills Golf Club, TJX, Carey Transportation, Hewlett Packard as well as the folks who purchase foursomes – you all are incredible! We feel terrible that we had to cancel the golf due to the thunderstorms, but really enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with all of our supporters as we all ate Sal's Pizza and Ben & Jerry's and waited out the storm that decided to not stop. I guess we had been lucky to have great weather the first 8 years of the event. Hopefully we’ll be able to start a new streak of consecutive good-weather years with the 10th Annual golf event in 2009!

Have a great 4th of July everyone! - Laurie Flutie

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Welcome to our new website and thank you for years of support!

We started The Doug Flutie Jr. foundation for Autism 10 years ago in honor of our son Dougie, who has Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), a low functioning form of autism. Our goal is to help financially disadvantaged families care for their children with autism, as well as fund research and raise awareness, but we also want people to know that they are not alone, this has happened to us too and we are here for them. The foundation is so important to us because we feel that this is Dougie’s calling and the foundation will be his legacy, he was put here to help others deal with autism, which has helped us (as a family) deal, understand and make peace with Dougie’s autism.

Dougie is now 16 years old; he is about 5ft 5in tall and growing like a weed. He was diagnosed with CDD when he was 3. He is non-verbal and requires one on one attention, but he has made tremendous progress over the years and we are so proud of all of his accomplishments.

Dougie goes to school full time (5 days a week all year round). He works hard at school and has a lot of therapy, but he loves all the attention. He also has home based tutoring 3 days a week (after school) and on Saturday afternoons (which he also loves). He loves to go to his horseback riding therapy every week at Ironstone Farm and during the summer he attends water sports camp at Access Sport America where he enjoys windsurfing as well as other water sports. He also just enjoys hanging out with family, whether it's swimming with his big sister Alexa, playing with his 3 dogs, playing ball with dad or just lounging and watching a movie with mom. Dougie loves life and is the happiest person I know, he always has a smile on his face and because he is happy, it makes all of us happy!!

We will continue to do all that we can to help Dougie’s foundation give to others afflicted with autism. Dougie is our inspiration and truly a blessing to our whole family, but the foundation has given back to us as well. It has given us the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful, caring and giving people. We wouldn't be able to help Dougie help others without your generous support, so we want to say THANK YOU for all that you do for us!!!

Thanks again for all of your support! Laurie Flutie