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A year later, family has changed ‘night and day’ with help from SARRC

LISTEN: Danny Portillo, father whose live was changed by SARRC

On April 2, 2014 Danny Portillo was driving around metro Phoenix listening to KTAR’s Action for Autism benefiting SARRC.

As he was listening to people tell their stories and learning what the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center had to offer, he realized he may benefit.

Portillo had a 7-year-old son he needed answers for. His son rarely talked and didn’t like to be hugged.

The single father of four didn’t know much about autism but the symptoms sounded familiar.

Portillo scooped up the kids after school and came to SARRC during the final hours of Action for Autism. With tears in his eyes he told his story and was asking for help.

Fast forward a year to the day, and Portillo was back at KTAR’s Action for Autism to give an update.

“From then until today, it has been night and day,” he said.

A year ago, his son wouldn’t interact with his siblings and now they play, share and look out for each other.

“I didn’t think it would turn around so fast,” Portillo said. “It was like a couple of weeks, from one week to the next. The first week he was bouncing off the walls. The next week he was a little more settled. The last session we had, he was sitting there. It was amazing, I didn’t think they could change him this fast.”

His son recently received an academic education award and is doing great.

Portillo is very thankful for SARRC.

“To the people at SARRC, I thank them very much. They changed my life. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was lost. You saw me when I came in, I was weak. I was a beat up man. … From then until now, I’m happy I can take them to parks without chasing him, he’ll walk right next to me.

“The people that donate, their money is well-spent. These people put it to good use. If they can’t find a solution, they’ll look for one until one can be found. I thank everyone for everything they do.”

KTAR’s Action for Autism benefit for SARRC raised $186,912 in total.