My son Matthew, age 10 was diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum at the age of 4. Along with the Autism, he struggles with his behavior, vocal and body tics, and ADHD.
Matthew has always wanted to do something that was “his” own. He has watched his older sister get to play softball, play basketball, go to Girls Scout Camp, run around with her youth group, have friends over, etc. So, when my AEA social worker mentioned that a family was trying to put together a camp in Gilbert for those like Matthew I had to jump at the opportunity!
Matthew LOVED camp. He enjoyed the special themes each week. He enjoyed making new friends like him. It gave him time for himself to have fun and be around those who truly cared and encouraged him! He would wake up each morning EARLY and be ready to go. Camp truly helped him feel more confident. He was sad it ended, however so grateful to have gone.
There is a need for All Aboard for Kids. I know of few places for Matthew to go to, most require long distance travel. It was so great to have camp right near home! We have tried the after school programs, we have tried other day camps, they just aren’t prepared ot staffed properly for kids like Matthew. He works best in small groups and with a professional who has experience with those who have Autism and other disorders.
– Hope Kepler