Autism 'Kids for Camp' broadens horizons

For the fourth year in a row, the Kids for Camp program has provided children with autism a place to experience a normal summer vacation. This unique camp combines elementary aged autistic children with volunteers of all ages and "typical" elementary students with the philosophy that all groups involved will learn something about life. Camp activities include swimming, IMAX movies, Zoo visits and learning exercises. All camp activities are provided free of charge. This year camp took place at Gulf Breeze Presbyterian Church May 24 through 26, and May 30 through June 2.

"We have parents that want their kids to experience people with bigger hurdles in their lives. The teen volunteers leave camp with a different view of the world," said Judy Burns.

Burns is the mother of two children, Richard, 11, and Stewart, 9. Stewart was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

"As a parent it is so wonderful for me to see my son with autism on the playground with 25 other happy children. It's that little moment of normalcy that brings me great joy. Anyone who has a child with autism can tell you those little moments of normalcy are precious," Burns said. "We are putting together a proposal right now for camp for next year - are looking at bringing in communication and behavior professionals and having them first work w/the families and teachers on detailed assessments and then written plans to improve the kids speech, behavior, and skill set for school, home life and for inclusion."

In 2006, over 25 kids participated, one half of whom were autistic. Various organizations donate money to make the camp possible, such as Wal-Mart and the Gulf Breeze Rotary who donate $3,000 to the camp annually.

Read the entire story...

You will find a variety of innovative products that not only benefit you but provide funds for autism research. We have everything from mugs to jewelry; apparel to decals, and much more!