HEART Autism began as a small effort to build an interaction with those who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with their “typical” community, in North San Diego County through social experiences.

As a mother, with a son who has autism, HEART Autism founder Kristen Cooley has continuously made efforts to place her son Nolan in classrooms, sports, and leisure activities where he is immersed in groups that model to Nolan how “typical” peers his age are using age appropriate language, mannerisms, interactions with others and having fun.

Kristen understands the fear parents who have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have, when faced with a public social situation. The preparation to “front load” Nolan before going to the skate park, surfing, a birthday party, an amusement park still has the strong probability for a high anxiety outburst or embarrassing tantrum. 

Over the years, Kristen and her husband Dominic have been complimented countlessly by other “typicals” in public places for providing Nolan social opportunities that he has discovered a love for.

There will always be vulnerable moments when you use your courage as a parent, to include your child with an ASD in "brutiful" public experiences; however, think of the impact, think of the character building, think of the positive contributions all who have an ASD will provide to their “typical” peers by discovering a love, an enjoyment, a sensory need fulfilled together through commonalities: Art, Music, Water, Sports, Dance.

Kristen knew HEART Autism's foundational purpose needed to be represented by her peers who were living with family members diagnosed with ASD.  Kristen shared her mission with good friend, Marnee Hamdi, who also has a son diagnosed with an ASD and Nolan’s past pre school teacher Debra Beeson, who has two adult siblings with ASD. Marnee and Debra excitedly accepted the commitment, partnering with Kristen to incept HEART Autism.

HEART Autism simply wants to fund social activities, that welcome and encourage individuals with ASD, to become involved with their North San Diego County Community. We invite you to support our endeavors.