Have Dreams
Have Dreams: Empowering Young Adults With Autism To Grow & Prepare Heallthy Foods

Childhood and adolescent obesity is 50 percent more common in individuals with developmental disabilities as compared to typically developing children and adolescents. Sadly, individuals with autism are at double that risk.

Have Dreams helps individuals with autism improve their abilities to learn, function independently and socialize so they may realize their full potential and develop into contributing members of their communities. Founded in 1996, Have Dreams serves more than 140 children, teens and adults impacted by autism from Chicago and 23 surrounding communities.

In 2016, Astellas USA Foundation is funding the Garden of Goodness Healthful Harvest Initiative, whereby Have Dreams participants help cultivate an outdoor vegetable garden. A year-round autism-specific curriculum helps increase healthy eating habits by teaching them how to plant, maintain and harvest the garden, prepare vegetables they have grown and incorporate these and other healthy foods into their daily diet.

In 2015, Astellas USA Foundation helped implement a Healthy Eating Initiative, which encouraged young adults with autism to broaden their food choices, taking steps toward eating healthy and sampling nutritious foods. Free community cooking demonstrations helped parents/caregivers learn to prepare nutritious, appealing meals at home for their children, teens and young adults with sensory issues.