For the Rolston Family, the holidays are a time to celebrate the differences that make their family wonderful and unique. Dave was brought up Lutheran and Lindy was raised in the Jewish faith. They love to combine holiday traditions. Their two children, Zachary, 4, and Natalie, 8, both light the menorah during Hanukkah and open gifts from Santa. 

Zachary and Natalie are wonderfully different kids. Zachary was born with autism, has very minimal language and uses an AAC device to communicate. Natalie, the protective sister, is chatty and is typically developing. She’s also her brother’s biggest advocate. The Rolston family is dedicated to raising money for research to help Zachary and all of those affected by autism. 

The Autism Sisters Project, supported by the Autism Science Foundation, aims to help Zachary and his family meet his challenges, and also to support siblings like Natalie. By studying all family members, scientists can start to understand why Zachary and Natalie are so different.

“Without scientific advances in identification and treatment, Zachary would not have accomplished as much as he has” says Lindy. “Supporting research that makes the world a better place for both of our children has become an important, shared tradition for our entire family.” 


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