There are a few things that we can do as parents to help our children with Autism. We can provide them with social interaction, give them all the therapy we can afford, and try to obtain knowledge to help them succeed in life. With all of this we must take time for ourselves to as well. In the next month there are many area events planned to help with all of these goals.
I feel like the Autism community is growing in the area for many reasons. We have many active parents working to provide outlets for their children, and themselves, to help promote awareness, and offer advocacy for autism. The following are a few things that have come to my attention lately that I felt needed to be promoted.
It is rare that an event is held just to allow special needs children a way to have a good time and forget about the everyday struggles they face. A group of CASC Scholars are offering just that.
Carl Albert State College will be holding the Second Annual CASC Harvest Carnival for Special Education Students. The event will be held on Tuesday Oct. 18, at the Poteau Campus. This will be from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Dunlap Oval. It is open to third through eighth grade students in the LeFlore County area. The event is listed as an “all about them” event for the special education students in the area. There will be games and activities as well as food for all students, instructors, aides, chaperones, and bus drivers. If you are interested in attending call 918-774-4390 or 918-774-5394. You must RSVP by Sep. 30.
Another outlet for children is therapy. This can help to cope with neurological issues, or just provide an channel for them to release stress. The Developmental Wings program is a great source for both.
Developmental Wings is a small non-profit organization serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The programs include Horseback Riding, Music/Art Therapy, and Wing Cadets (similar in concept to Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, the cadets earn badges for their participation in a variety of classes and events). The programs offer special needs children an opportunity to experience a group-based approach to learning new skills and sports. According to their website, they focus on abilities, not disabilities, and provide accommodations for everyone to participate. For more information on Developmental Wings check out the website: http://developmentalwings.com/home.cfm.
On Saturday, Oct. 22, Developmental Wings will hold a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s in Fort Smith. Tickets are $5 each and can be picked up at Poteau Pets. The proceeds will be used to help provide children participate in the programs.
We as parents need an outlet as well. This is why a local group of parents have bonded together to create the Parents of Autism group. I’ve written about this group before. We get together every third Thursday of the month and discuss issues we’re having with our children, share resources, and use each other to vent about the struggles we’re having.
In October the Parents of Autism will meet on Thursday Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. There will be a guest speaker, Janissa D. Jackson, Ph.D. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in children. She has recently moved her practice to Fort Smith from Fayetteville, and will be discussing a wide variety of topics. This meeting is open to anyone interested. We encourage all parents, family members, teachers, therapists, aides, etc. to attend our meetings. It is good to have input from all areas. If you are interested, or have any questions please contact the Parents of Autism group on Facebook. We usually meet at D&D Counseling in Poteau. If that changes I will let everyone know in a future column.
If you or anyone you know are coping with a child with autism or any other developmental disorder I encourage you to visit the Parents of autism group on facebook. We share many of the resources we learn about on the site, and have online discussions about everyday issues we have.
I also want to encourage all my readers to join my Pervasive Parenting page on facebook. This is a great way for me to find out what you would like to learn more about, and for me to learn about other resources and ideas that you have.
If you know of anything coming up please let me know. I will try to promote it in my column.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column.