Autism Society records most keynote and concurrent sessions at their annual conferences. You can see and hear those recordings by purchasing full online access, or individual recordings.
The program has many benefits for the various stakeholders involved in the program. It is meeting the need for supportive recreation opportunities for children with autism spectrum disorders. The combination of a parent support group, sibling participation, and high quality recreation opportunities with support for children with a full range of needs makes this a unique and valuable program. Presently there are 180 children participating between the ages of 4 and 19. There are approximately 180 volunteers over the course of a semester and they come from a variety of disciplines including education, speech-language pathology, psychology, counseling and school psychology. The program meets for five Fridays per semester, two hours per evening. Activities include music, art, theater, history, science, TV games, board games, movement, videography, and yoga. Other areas are added each semester based on the talents of the volunteers. These future school professionals, who will be working with children with autism spectrum disorders upon graduation, are receiving valuable training and experience in the field. Approximately 75 parents participate in the support meetings, which provide relevant, family-friendly information and encourage the sharing of experiences to positively impact the lives of our children with autism.
The primary purpose of this presentation is to provide the participants with the core elements of the program so that it can be replicated at other colleges and universities across the country. Presently there is one other replication underway at another college campus in New York State. The intended audience includes higher education faculty, parents, and community members. Those concerned about the absence of recreation opportunities for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families will find this presentation particularly useful. Chapter leaders from other Autism Society local chapters may also find this presentation of value if they wish to initiate such a program in their communities.
The focus of the session content will be on the various elements of the program including the process of building collaboration across the community agencies and institution of higher education, finding funding, and the various logistics of setting up the program. The elements of recruiting and training volunteers, organization of the volunteers, providing the necessary level of supports for the children with ASD, setting up interesting and valuable social and recreational opportunities for the children, and setting up the parent/family support group will be discussed in detail. An opportunity for participants to engage with the presenters about how to replicate in other communities will be available. Video from the program will be shared including comments from parents and children who have participated in the program.
Content Area: Life with Autism
Susan V. DeLuke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education
The College of Saint Rose
Jan S. Campito, M.S./M.Phil
Facilitator of the parent group/ Author of the book, Supportive Parenting published by Jessica Kingsley
Shannon Peterson, M.Ed.
Graduate Student and Special Education Teacher
The College of Saint Rose