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Welcome to The Puzzling Piece. My name is Melissa Winter and I have two boys; Max and Sam. I created The Puzzling Piece to help raise money and awareness for children and families affected by Autism.

Our oldest son Max was diagnosed with Autism when he was three and a half years old. Imagine sitting in a Doctor’s office hearing the words “Yes, your son has Autism”. Of course, we knew something was wrong. We already had Max in therapy 4 hours a week. But the final diagnosis was something we would need time to wrap our heads around. After the crying was over we realized we needed to make some changes to help Max. A lot more therapy was needed! My husband and I did a lot of research and found that being outdoors, doing, seeing, touching and yes playing would be some of the best therapy we could give Max. So, we decided to move our family from New Jersey to South Florida. The sun and warmer weather meant more time on the playgrounds, and in the pool. The more time Max could play and smile was what I was looking for. After a full day of school and more hard work at therapy an hour of fun in the pool would be the best part of our day.

We found a terrific school for Max to attend that specialized in helping children with Autism and related disabilities. We were looking for a place that would focus on his development and help him thrive in society. We became very involved with the school and wanted to do our part with fundraising, and this is how I came to create The Puzzling Piece. The puzzle piece is a widely recognized symbol of Autism, so I designed a hand blown glass puzzle piece necklace, had it packaged in a small blue gift bag and brought it to the Executive Director of the School. She loved it. We used it as a fundraiser and it was a success! Our school of 85 children sold 147 necklaces in a week and a half! Everyone got involved from the teachers, to the parents and even the board members of the school.

Today, The Puzzling Piece is helping countless numbers of Autism groups and schools all around the country. We are selling our necklace at Autism Speaks Walks and Surfers for Autism events. Because this is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, we have continued to grow. Thanks to people like you, The Puzzling Piece now offers many fabulous products that not only create awareness but make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities.

Today our son Max attends a public school and is in a typical first grade class. He is pulled out for Reading, Speech and Occupational Therapy, and with the help of a shadow, he is able to participate and learn and grow with a typical first grade class. He is talking up a storm; he is creative, smart and sneaky. But best of all Max is a happy child.

Our goals at The Puzzling Piece are to raise Autism awareness, as well as help families that have been touched by Autism, or other disabilities, to feel loved and supported through the gift of technology. The Puzzling Piece also honors those who help the children and families touched by Autism by making donations to Autism based non-profit organizations with each sale that is made. If enough people like you join together to spread the word, one day we might find a cure or a successful treatment for children with Autism.

Autism is spreading like wildfire. We need to stop this epidemic. Won’t you help?





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