A Child’s Struggle With Autism Consumes K Alumni Family

In 2004, Antonie Boessenkool ’99 wrote a LuxEsto article (“Homeward Bound”) that appeared in the fall issue that year about Matt ’94 and Kelli ’95 (Johnson) Stapleton. Their daughter Isabelle (Issy), at that time 5 years old, had recently been diagnosed with autism. The Stapletons currently live in Elberta, Michigan. Matt serves as principal of Frankfort–Elberta High School and coaches football and basketball. Kelli runs a podcast business, but most of her time is devoted to helping Issy and raising her two other children, McEwen and Ainsley. Issy (12) has a form of autism that manifests in occasional violent outbursts directed at family members. For the past few years, Issy has been big enough to cause serious injury to her mom and others. The Stapletons have been trying to get treatment for Issy, but their insurance program covers little to none of the costs, which are significant. Recently, Issy got into an in-patient treatment program at the Great Lakes Center for Autism (Portage, Michigan). But the insurance company would only pay for 30 days of a treatment program that requires two to three months. The Elberta community news organ (the Alert) has published the Stapletons’ story and is raising funds in hopes that Issy can complete her in-patient treatment program. All are invited to contribute.