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Meet Karelix Alicea of The Lotus Children (TLC) in Brickell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karelix Alicea.

The Lotus Children (TLC) was founded in 2015 by Karelix Alicea following over 14 years of experience working as a behavior analyst in the homes of children and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout South Florida. Her experiences allowed her to learn of their struggles all too well, and her conclusion was a simple one: when a child is affected by autism, the entire family needs support. The financial burden of raising a special needs child is a difficult one to bear and often results in children who lack the necessary tools to be successful in their natural environment and in their local communities. Furthermore, the parents and primary caretakers of these children are often overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed by their day-to-day responsibilities. Our mission is to support aUsome children worldwide, including aUsome super moms and dads. TLC is here for you! Because we know that even heroes need a helping hand sometimes.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The path toward launching a non-profit has been an arduous one, beginning with understanding the ins and outs of the medical insurance industry and the lack of funding sources for these children in need. For example, an autism mandate writes into law that insurance carriers are obligated to cover the cost of medically necessary treatment of ASD, including ABA therapy services. Despite the fact that an autism mandate is currently in place in all 50 states within the continental U.S., many children continue to be under insured with high out-of-pocket costs that prevent their child from accessing the appropriate intensity of behavioral services needed for their best developmental outcomes. This is particularly the case when there is more than one child diagnosed with ASD in the family unit. Furthermore, there are many children and families in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the U.S., whose insurance coverage does not include applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy services due to a lack of an autism mandate in that geographical region. This is a cause that is very close to my heart because I am Puerto Rican and have always dreamed of helping children in my native island. The end result is that these American children and families living in Puerto Rico have no hope for their future. ABA therapy is the number one evidence-based behavioral intervention that improves developmental outcomes and overall quality of life for children on the autism spectrum. Fighting insurance carriers for coverage and payment continues to be a constant struggle for families affected by autism, both in the U.S. and beyond. Our hope and mission is that the donations of those whom are more fortunate will support aUsome children and families with inadequate coverage throughout the world.

Additionally, launching TLC has been my first experience in the non-profit sector and it has certainly not been easy, to say the least. From laboriously completing the application documents to networking, marketing and securing funding, I have struggled through it all. With the support of advisors, close friends and family, we have been able to support numerous children across South Florida and Puerto Rico who did not have the financial resources to have otherwise been able to provide their child with the medically necessary ABA therapy services required for them to speak their first words, learn to use the bathroom independently, or learn the skills needed to form friendships in life. Our Lotus children are thriving and for that we are so very thankful to everyone who has pitched into this cause. Our struggles are always superseded by our successes and we look forward to helping many more children in the years to come.

Please tell us about The Lotus Children (TLC).
The Lotus Children (TLC) provides applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy services to aUsome children and families throughout the world. We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization that prides itself in servicing underprivileged children and families affected by autism who otherwise don’t have the means necessary to access this high-quality, evidence-based behavioral treatment intervention. ABA therapy focuses on increasing a child’s adaptive behavior (i.e., communication, social skills, self-help skills, etc.) while simultaneously decreasing maladaptive behavior (i.e., aggression, self-injury, property destruction, self-stimulation, etc.) so that the child is able to reach his or her fullest developmental potentials and ultimately live a fulfilling life as an active member of his or her community. Our entire clinical team is recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) to ensure the highest quality of services and treatment integrity. We believe all children with autism should have access to quality ABA therapy services, no matter where they live.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I honestly can’t say I’ve ever relied too much on luck and wouldn’t consider it to have contributed much to my life or the success of TLC in general. I would instead say that hard work, long hours, a ton of perseverance and an insatiable drive to advocate for those who are unable to speak for themselves is what has led me to come this far. More than in luck, I believe in taking control of the circumstances at hand and actively working toward making the best of what will be. I believe in having a vision and living with purpose until that vision becomes a reality.

Pricing:

The best results have been shown in children who receive up to 40 hours of ABA therapy per week for at least 2 years before treatment intensity is systematically faded, depending on the severity level of the autism diagnosis and the child’s individualized needs.  Please consider sponsoring a Lotus Child today!
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 1 year:  $60,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 6 months:  $30,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 5 months:  $25,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 4 months:  $20,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 3 months:  $15,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 2 months:  $10,000
  • Sponsor a Lotus Child for 1 month:  $5,000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Thank you to the parents of our aUsome Lotus Children for granting us the permission to use their likeness.

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