Stockton Family Creates Autism Awareness Movement Inspired By 5-Year-Old DJ

Yellow Line

When 5-year-old DJ Hoston was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, his parents, Sparkle and De'Unte Hoston, faced a new reality.

Instead of dwelling on the challenges, they embraced their son's unique perspective on the world and started a movement to help other families navigating life with autism.

One of DJ's fascinations is watching tissue dust floating in the air, which has inspired his mother, Sparkle, to notice and appreciate the little things in life. "I wouldn't have noticed those kinds of things if it wasn't for DJ," she said.

DJ's parents initially knew little about autism and feared the diagnosis might limit their son's abilities. However, they soon realized DJ could still enjoy a normal childhood with his own way of doing things. Today, DJ loves building gadgets with his father, assembling puzzles, and learning about technology.

The Hostons started their movement with "Art with DJ," where DJ would create paintings that the family would sell to help him buy toys or treats. This initiative evolved into "Autism with DJ," a virtual support group that launched in October 2022. The family shares videos of their daily life with DJ and offers advice based on their experiences raising an autistic child.

The family's advocacy project gained momentum when a video featuring Baby Salem singing went viral on TikTok, drawing attention to "Autism with DJ." Sparkle and De'Unte now aim to establish a nonprofit that supports families and individuals affected by autism in a variety of ways, including providing resources, specialists, financial aid, and emotional support.

Autism with DJ will host its first virtual conference for parents on April 22 and 23, with proceeds from ticket sales going toward supporting families and individuals on the spectrum.

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