Stepping Up to Summertime Fun!

Taking Advantage of Community Opportunities for Your Family

Integration into the community is a key component of happiness for both you and your loved one with autism. Being involved with others by participating in activities such as sporting events, local clubs, camps or religious communities will improve self-esteem and provide your family with great enjoyment and pleasure. This month’s Community Connections focuses on making the most of summertime and the community activities that come with it. It may take some effort to find the best fit for your family member, but with some planning and patience, the rewards will be well worth it!

Expert Speaks!

Family Services interviewed autism expert Lisa Jo Rudy of autism.about.com about her new book Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun! How Families of Children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Here is a quote from Lisa's interview:

"Getting out, exploring and having fun is not only critically important to full and happy life – it’s also a way to build self-discovery, personal growth and bonding into the lives of children and families living with autism. It’s time to get out there and make it happen!"

Click here to read our interview with Lisa Jo Rudy. Click here to purchase her book!

Experience Speaks!

Marianne Sullivan, Autism Speaks Assistant Director of National Outreach and Resources, responds to Frequently Asked Questions from a Facebook Q and A session, emails and phone calls.

"My advice to other parents is to seek out opportunities. Don't assume your child can't do something because he or she has autism!"

Click here to read more tips from Marianne.

Topic of the Month: Summertime Fun!

In July, the Family Services team asked families to share their successes about community participation and traveling. We received so many encouraging and inspiring responses throughout the month. Here is a tip we received on our Facebook page:

Print out a daily itinerary for your child. If they are not old enough to read, paste pictures of the places you are going to go that day. I can’t stress enough the importance of sticking to that schedule."

Click here to read other responses.

Autism Speaks Community Grants: Recreation and Community Activities!

Autism Speaks funds recreational and community activity programs through our Family Services Community Grants. Community Grants fund a wide range of activities from rock climbing, to golf, to theater groups. These grants can also be useful in giving you ideas about what activities might be a good fit for your family member with autism. Click here to see a full list of recreational program grants.

Featured Grant Recipient: Outdoors for All Foundation
Seattle, WA
www.outdoorsforall.org

The Outdoors for All Foundation provides year-round instruction in outdoor recreation for people with physical, developmental and sensory disabilities. It began with 15 children with disabilities learning to downhill ski at The Summit at Snoqualmie. Now they offer year-round recreation activities for more than 2,000 participants annually. Autism Speaks funded the Outdoors for All Foundation to hire an autism consultant to train staff and volunteers as well as help with program design on new and existing programs. We also funded a behavioral aide to join the staff on a full-time basis. 60% of their day campers were people with autism. This grant allowed them to expand their capacity and improve the quality of the services for children with autism. As a result of this funding, in addition to hiring new staff they served 40 more children with autism and these kids were given a greater opportunity to form friendships and work on improving social skills.

Resources

Autism Speaks Resource Guide
Search our Guide for Recreation and Community Activities near you!

Traveling with Special Needs Children
Video on 8 Tips on Vacationing with Disabled Kids from FoxNews.com.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films
In partnership with The Autism Society, we bring AMC Sensory Friendly Films to families affected by autism on a monthly basis to select communities.

Challenger Baseball
Challenger Baseball is a place where kids with special needs get the chance to come together as a team and be cheered on to greatness.

POP Warner Challenger Football League
The mission of the Pop Warner Challenger Division is to bring the Pop Warner experience to those special needs individuals.

TOPSOCCER
US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers.

Special Olympics
Special Olympics is where athletes with intellectual disabilities celebrate and are celebrated for their accomplishments.

Scouts with Special Needs
The basic premise of Scouting for youth with special needs is that every boy wants to participate fully and be respected like every other member of the troop.

YMCA
The Y is an inclusive organization of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility.

Check out our other Community Connections pages!

Have Some Fun Today! Recreation, Community Activities, Clubs and More!

Traveling Tips for Individuals with Autism and Their Families

Social Skills and Autism: Open the Doors to Your Community!