Daisy Garcia-Montoya 
Education Reporter

A Northeast resident decided to take action after seeing a lack of resources and support systems for families with autistic children, particularly among Latino families.

With this in mind, Miriam Galan decided to create Azul Esperanza, an organization that uses social media to connect family and community members with resources, a support system, and information on the topic of autism.

Galan, who has been a very active community member, has advocated for the rights of parents and students, especially during the fall 2022 and winter 2023 when there was a possibility of school closures due to Kansas City Missouri Public Schools’ Blueprint 2030 plan.

 Throughout her activism, Galan mentioned her experience as a mother of children with autism and what her experience was like in schools. After becoming more involved with Revolucion Educativa (RevEd) and being a participant in different trainings and programs that provide tools on navigating life for individuals with disabilities, she decided to take a chance and develop her own organization.

“It all started because I had to go through this process with my children, a diagnosis of autism in both of my children,” Galan said.

Galan recounts how she began to notice developmental delays in her children which caused her to research more information about autism, as many of the symptoms were very similar. With concern, Galan sought her son’s primary care doctor, where she was told that he may not yet speak some words since the child knew Spanish and English and may be confused with both languages.

“It is illogical that they would get confused because his brain has the capacity. I kept looking for more information and came up with all the symptoms my son had until I fought for a diagnosis, which took six months on the waiting list and all in English,” Galan said. “I had a translator and support at the hospital but I never had that close support system or community. That was the first red light bulb that I felt inside me that what I went through, other moms didn’t have to go through.”

Over the years, Galan shared any information she had on the topic to other families. With the help of RevEd, she became involved as a volunteer and participant in the program as Parents Leadership Training Institute KC, a 21-week course where they learn about civic engagement and parent empowerment, ending with the task of creating a project that can offer a benefit to the community. From this project, Azul Esperanza was born in 2023 to offer information in Spanish on the topic of autism.

Now in 2024, Galan officially launched the organization in April, which is World Autism Awareness Month. “Our goal is to help families with acceptance, understanding, and inclusion in their process with autism,” Galan said.

As part of the resources, Galan goes Live on Facebook where she connects with other parents, experts, or organizations that offer information in Spanish about autism. Although the focus of Azul Esperanza is on autism, Galan says that individuals who have other diagnoses in their families are also invited as they can also benefit, connect, and create a community and support network with other parents.

To prepare and continue her personal growth as a leader of this organization, Galan is a participant in the Missouri Disability Development Council (MDDC) program, where they equip parents with the tools and information to adapt them to their own lives as well as talk about parents’ and students’ rights in schools and how to advocate for them.

Galan during her trip to Washington D.C where she received an award from the National Parents Union for her advocacy in special education.

Most recently, Galan had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. where she received national recognition from the National Parents Union for her work in special education.

As for how she plans to expand Azul Esperanza, Galan says her dream is to open a haircutting truck for children with autism.

“I had to learn how to cut my children’s hair because I could not take them to a salon because of their sensory problems and I had to learn how to do it at home. I’m looking for a truck and that’s my dream but I’m going to do it,” Galan said.

For more information or to get involved, look for Azul Esperanza on Facebook where you can find upcoming events, recordings of past Live posts, and more information on the topic.