My name is Christy Hernandez and I live in Victoria with my two kids: Kat who is 18 and Blake who is 8. My mom, who is currently battling cancer, also lives with me and has helped me raise my kids since they were babies. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and I work in two schools in South Texas.
I have been interested in Autism awareness since the early 90’s when my nephew, was diagnosed with Autism. I remember my sister in law taking him to countless appointments and eventually finding a doctor who would help her with his speech delay and behavioral issues. He was such a sweet kid and I remember as a tween wanting to hug him and he just wasn’t having it! When his mom announced that he was going to be the subject of one of the first books written about children with Autism we were excited that both she and my nephew would finally have a voice and be able to connect to other families who were needing the same guidance and support. Today, we hear that he is doing great and working in a profession he loves!
I went to college at OLLU and UHV and eventually, my career planted me at Gulf Bend Center, where I worked with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes and who also lived at home on their own or with their families. I eventually did case management, service coordination and intake. While doing intakes, it was especially moving to be able to offer hope and support to parents who had never been offered services and supports as my nephew had so many years before. I met great families and some I now see and help with CAN. When I left GBC in 2019 to pursue a career in counseling, I was working in the crisis department, providing crisis intervention and prevention services to those with IDD. It was bitter sweet to leave a career that was so intrinsically rewarding!
When Robyn approached me to serve on the board for CAN, I was excited to still be working with children who I hold near and dear to my heart, including her son Logan. Logan is perhaps the child I will always include in my bio as the child who made me want to advocate for all kids who couldn’t advocate for themselves and for their parents who just need that same guidance and support so many other parents need.
I met Paige in 2014 when my son needed speech therapy. His speech impediment was so bad that he developed self-injurious behaviors out of frustration. Although my son does not have Autism, I certainly felt a tiny pinch that some of the other CAN parents feel on a greater magnitude…you know, wanting to do anything in your power to solve everything for your child and make everything right again! Well, thanks to Horizon’s and their wonderful board, my son took to speech therapy like second nature and had improved in weeks. The board knew I struggled as a single mom and voted to use funds to help me pay for that therapy and I will always be grateful to them! Paige always greeted my son and the cards she gave him or sent in the mail somehow always arrived when when we needed them most and had messages that encouraged us both!
Serving on the board for CAN will help me return that favor. My kids too will always participate and volunteer because they too love the CAN family as much as I do. I am so glad you have joined us and if you haven’t joined our group, I hope you do. We would like to provide you and your family with guidance, support and love that will help you until all the pieces fit!