Our VIP Award recipient, Adrienne Bransky, supports son’s effort to bring tennis to kids with autism.
by Karyn Brodsky
When it comes to children with autism, Dallas mom Adrienne Bransky knows firsthand that learning is winning.
Her 14-year-old, middle child, Josh is on the spectrum. So, when her oldest son Matthew, now 17, approached her about establishing a Dallas chapter of ACEing Autism, a program that enhances the lives of children and families with autism through tennis, she quickly offered her support.
Adrienne was a busy, young mother and wife, holding an upper-level corporate position when she and her medical resident husband Aaron, received Josh’s diagnosis when he was just 14 months old. At the time, knowledge about autism was very limited and some medical professionals gave the Branskys conflicting advice.
When the family moved to Dallas, Adrienne decided to leave the corporate world and work for Aaron’s practice, so she could be home with her three children and devote more time to Josh’s care. In addition to the responsibilities of being a mom, she spent time researching and advocating for Josh and met with professionals to ensure that he received the proper therapy to help him communicate and hone his social skills. The Branskys joined autism organizations, such as Autism Speaks, to help raise awareness and to meet other parents who faced the same challenges. “Autism has been a huge part of our family’s lives for a long time,” she notes. “We went through so much for Josh and wanted to give back.”
Matthew and their daughter Sarah, following their parents’ example, want to help raise money for autism awareness. When Sarah, now 12, was five years old, unbeknownst to Adrienne, she gathered the tools she needed to run a lemonade stand. “The humorous part is that we live at the end of a cul-de-sac,” says Adrienne. “Who was going to come by?” Eventually, Adrienne convinced a local grocery store to allow Sarah to sell lemonade at its entrance. Adrienne has accompanied her daughter there each year, and for the last six years, Sarah has collected about $1000 per year.
When Matthew, now a junior at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas, told Adrienne that he wanted to fulfill his school’s yearly requirement of 15 hours of community service by starting ACEing Autism in Dallas, Adrienne dove in head first. She and Matthew got permission to start the local chapter, became co-program directors, secured a facility at the University of Texas at Dallas and contacted ACEing Autism’s partners like Penn Head to provide equipment. While Matthew recruits volunteers, which come primarily from his high school, and a friend recruits participants, Adrienne markets the program.
Adrienne explains that the intention of the program is more than learning to play tennis. “It teaches hand-eye coordination, social skills, self-esteem, and confidence,” she says. “We are all happy with the little wins.”
The classes, open to kids all across the autism spectrum, launch on March 18th of this year and there is already a waiting list. For information on future enrollment or to volunteer, visit aceingautism.org/locations/dallas-tx/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A shining example of selflessness and support for all of her children and their pursuits, Adrienne’s tireless commitment to helping families of autistic children make a difference for so many. For her tireless commitment in allowing and ensuring that her oldest son’s endeavor of enhancing the lives of children with autism through tennis is a success, Good Life Family Magazine is honored to present this month’s VIP award to Adrienne Bransky.