A woman and a young girl are outdoors by a fire pit.We are highlighting mothers of PATF who have children with disabilities, as part of our ongoing efforts to increase awareness of disability representation within our organization. Bonaia Rosado is a Senior Program Manager at PATF. She is autistic, and her daughter is also autistic. Bonaia shares her enthusiasm for teaching financial education to her children, and families and providing resources to those in need. 

“Hi there. From an outsider’s perspective, I was asked a seemingly simple question – how does being a mom impact my work for PATF? Sounds simple right? It’s like asking me to describe a pivotal moment in my life 12 years ago. Or, if I was asked the age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? 


Before joining PATF, before getting married and having my kids, before finding out that my youngest child was autistic, and soon after, learning that I am also autistic, I was a freelance illustrator working at a terrible loan company. I was single with a bad credit history and barely making enough to survive paycheck to paycheck. I know it sounds like a horrifying infomercial so far, but trust me, it gets better. I promise. 

When I joined the PATF staff/family, I began devouring and following our financial education publications. These past 12 years, all staff were encouraged to grow our knowledge base and skills to better help our community. Knowledge? Yes, please! If my life were a video game, I would compare certain achievements to XP points or leveling-up. One such accomplishment would be improving my credit scores and developing a healthier relationship with money. This is something that my children witness regularly. 

This encouragement came from the highest level of PATF. It’s a rare practice among employers. Our work culture provided a safe space for open conversations and asking questions, where each person’s knowledge and resources were valued. This experience has had a significant impact on my problem-solving approach, emphasizing the importance of setting aside ego, admitting when you don’t know something, and seeking answers to better solve problems. Why? Because the goal is to help others – a person, a family, possibly my family or a friend’s family. I always encourage my kids to practice this habit.” 


When my husband and I received the autism diagnosis for our youngest child, Penny, we were fortunate to have the support of PATF. Looking back, we were completely overwhelmed and felt like deer in headlights. We needed help to navigate the new world of acronyms, such as IEP, ASD, ABA, DD, and the various hoops we were required to jump through to best help Penny. We needed a soundboard to ensure that we were on the right path in case something went wrong, which did happen. There were many things to handle in this disability services space, such as paperwork, jumping through hoops, making regular calls, remembering what was said, and keeping everyone accountable, especially ourselves.  

By utilizing my experience and knowledge as a parent and a person with a disability, I can fully comprehend the exhaustion and frustration that our callers and applicants may be experiencing. This understanding enables me to approach such situations in a more effective manner. 

When someone having a rough week calls PATF in a frustrated tone, I am aware that their frustration has nothing to do with me. It is a result of their exhaustion with the numerous processes involved in acquiring their assistive technology or services. Keeping this in mind during a conversation helps me to communicate openly and effectively, and ultimately get to the root of their needs. Whether someone needs help finding funding resources, navigating a complex process, accessing advocacy resources, or applying for a financial loan through our program, they can count on speaking with someone who understands their frustration and who will do their best to help to find solutions.”