I am writing in support of All Aboard for Kids. My daughter Mallory, age 12, has been diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum and ADHD as well as low muscle tone.
My husband and I have looked for appropriate summer programs in out area that Mallory could benefit from and have had very little luck until this past summer when we were told about the start of All Aboard For Kids. Let me start off by first saying, WOW!! This program is way more than we could have ever expected! It was fun to see Mallory work on reading, social skills, physical activities and simply just having fun with other kiddos just like her!
I think it is so important that children who are on the Autism Spectrum stay on a “school like structure” over the summer so that they don’t regress in certain areas All Aboard For Kids is very comparable to a “school like structure”. Yes, Mallory has been given the changes of going to summer school, however it is for an hour session and it is just her and a teacher. I feel like one of the most important parts of not regressing for kids on the spectrum is the social interaction with their peers. This was HUGE for Mallory while participating at All Aboard For Kids this past summer! Each day seemed to be an adventure full of laughs, lots of smiles, creativity and hard work!
I think it si important to point out the staff at All Aboard For Kids. Not everyone has their heart or patience it takes to work with children affected by Autism. The staff is made up of adults who are trained and know common behaviors of the children who attend All Aboard For Kids. Not only are their adults who work at the camp, there are typical developing children who help as well. This is such a great opportunity for those children to learn more about and understand their peers who are affected by Autism. It was very obvious to see the love and friendship the staff had for each child who attended this past summer!
In my opinion, the best part of the development of All Aboard For Kids is that it was started by Mike and Lisa McCarty who know firsthand about Austism as they have 3 sons who are affected by it. My husband and I have had many conversations with Lisa over the years about the need for a program like All Aboard For Kids in our area. It has truly been amazing to watch Lisa’s dream of creating a program for kids like ours a reality! I feel like our community is truly blessed to have such a determined mom of 3 amazing boys affected by Autism make it her mission to start a program our children can benefit from! I have heard a lot of positive feedback from the special education teachers in our community as well as the therapists from AEA that Mallory works with! There is such a need for programs like All Abourd For Kids in Story County! As Mallory’s mom, I am hoping that this program will be in full swing again next year so these kiddos affected by Autism can continue to grow in areas that they struggle with.