SARRC was the jump-start Jenna and Zach Hilton needed for their son, Royce.
A physician assistant, Jenna became familiar with SARRC as an advocate for her patients. It became very personal, though, when they suspected Royce was on the spectrum. Then age 2, he was on a one-year waiting list for an autism evaluation by the family’s developmental pediatrician.
Fortunately, they were able to find support immediately through JumpStart, a six-week program offered by SARRC designed to help families new to autism spectrum disorder get information and support. Despite having a health care background, Jenna says there was much more to learn about autism. “Other families must be totally overwhelmed,” she says.
“JumpStart helped us navigate the entire process, and most importantly, instructed us as parents how to support behavior modification for our son at home,” Jenna says.
Since that time, the Hilton’s youngest daughter was evaluated through SARRC’s Milestones program, an early intervention and monitoring service provided at no cost to first-time parents or of an infant with an older sibling who has an autism diagnosis. She now is attending SARRC’s Community School in South Scottsdale taking advantage of opportunities for behavioral growth and development.
Passionate about helping people with autism throughout their lifetimes, the Hiltons have become SARRC Multiyear Visionary Partners or MVPs. MVPs commit to an annual donation of five years or more to support the organization’s programs, services and research.
“I appreciate how SARRC not only supports young children with a recent diagnosis but throughout their lifetimes,” Jenna says. “It can be challenging as they navigate social and emotional pressures, complicated relationships, pursuing careers, possibly living independently and the external pressures of everyday normal adulthood.”
The community is seeing an influx of diagnosed individuals ready to enter the workforce, Jenna says. And, the Hiltons are huge fans of SARRC as it provides solutions for such milestones. They see their multi-year gift helping families in Phoenix and across Arizona have access to early intervention services as well as access to adult outreach and support for independent living.
As for Royce, now 7, Jenna says he struggles with external stimuli and has trouble relaxing and focusing, yet is able to see the world from a completely unique and beautiful lens. “He allows me to evaluate the world differently. I feel that if we can support people with autism and allow them to reach their highest potential, we all will benefit.”
The Hiltons also have a 6-year-old daughter, Kennedy. She and the rest of the family have become avid campers with their recent purchase of an Airstream travel trailer. Being able to “reset” in nature is something Royce particularly enjoys, his mom says.
Originally from Iowa, Jenna moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University. She also supports SARRC as a member of the Community Breakfast event committee. Zach, a former pro football player, is from Washington, D.C., and moved to Arizona for a new job. He now works for Medtronic.
Are you interested in making a difference by becoming a SARRC Multiyear Visionary Partner? Learn more here.