By Lisa Ackerman
When the very first TACA meeting was held in my living room in Huntington Beach, California almost 13 years ago, I had no idea where it would lead my family (1.)
The early days of our son’s diagnosis were frustrating. We spent countless hours researching, reading, talking – wasn’t there a better way? Wasn’t there SOMEONE who had already done the same research and found answers?
Fast forward to November 2000, our daughter Lauren (at the advanced age of 16) suggested to us that we start a parent support group. Both my husband and I felt somewhat unqualified, but we wanted the company of other families going through the same struggles. We hoped to share information regarding new research and treatment options. We also wanted to build a community and be in the company of parents who would be passionate about autism education and awareness. We have been on a mission ever since.
TACA began with a handful of families in 2000. During those early days, the meeting was called the “Lisa Ackerman Autism group.” That was a silly name, as it wasn’t about me. It was about families looking for answers to help their children. We were a very active group of parents who wanted answers to better our kids’ lives.
In search for a better name, a mom named Holly, stepped up and said “We do a lot of talking. How about we call it Talk About Curing Autism!” There was a thunderous roar of applause and yells from the room of 60+ parents who felt it accurately described our group. We were scared about what would happen to our kids once we passed on. We wanted our children to live without pain, be able to sleep, communicate, make friends, learn, and live to their fullest potential. We knew meaningful treatments and answers would come from families like ours.
In 2002 the name Talk About Curing Autism – TACA was born. We have utilized that name ever since. We had no idea the word “cure” would become so controversial and that some people didn’t want a cure. For many families living with autism this is all we live, dream or think about. Our children need serious medical treatments.
Then, the time came to think about coming up with a logo. TACA needed something that would illustrate our purpose, so the “heart man” was born. He represented two figures and two scenarios:
First: a parent helping the child through the autism journey to be their support and their advocate. Second: a child going from needing much support, to becoming a healthy, grown and accomplished adult.
This is the story behind our name. TACA was born from families helping families. It represented a better future for our children. We wanted them to receive the necessary medical care and therapies needed for an opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
We presently serve almost 33,000 families in the United States. We provide support via our Chapters in 19 states while also providing a virtual presence in the rest of the nation.
We know the future is not defined for many children affected by autism. Hope and recovery is possible. We are witnesses every day.