Client Story – July 2023


A letter from Judy Wells, Dalton’s Grandmother and Guardian

“In 2003 Karen Smith walked through my door, I
am a grandmother raising an autistic
grandchild. He was age 2 then. I would have to
write a lot of pages here to tell you what she has
done for us all these years.
Dalton, my grandson, is now going to graduate
from Dubois High School this year. We had
discussed what he wanted to do after
graduation, many times, but he just did not
know what he wanted to do. This year he started
to talk about being a gunsmith. Not just any
gunsmith, but one that made the entire gun.
Stock to barrel. I told Karen about this. She
connected us to a specialized gunsmith in
Emporium. He spoke to us on the phone, as we
were not able to meet in person at that time. He
told us what Dalton needed to do. We since have
had a face-to-face meeting with him this
summer. Karen then found information for us
for a gunsmith program, that I contacted with,
we go see them next summer. Karen gave me
information for online OVR application and a
program called “work experience program” for
14-24-year-olds to place them in the area they
wish to make a career of. All of these programs
we intend to follow through with as soon as we
I can call her and speak with her anytime, and
she calls us often. Just to hear a friendly voice,
many times, is more important than you know.
Raising a child with autism, it’s so hard,
especially when you are older.
Let me tell you the biggest thing I learned from
her, and think of this so often, she said to me
one time, and I NEVER forgot it. She said, “Learn
to pick your battles, Judy, learn to pick your
battles, in the grand scheme of life some things
are just not important, you pick what is
important to HIM.”