LET'S ALL PLAY SUCCESS STORIES
James' Camp Story
Two years ago, my son James started attending the NatureQuest summer program through the Rockford Park District. We didn’t know it at the time, but this program would be life-changing for him.
James is profoundly impacted by autism. He is nonverbal, has minimal communication skills, and is not potty-trained. He attends a special autism classroom in his public school district during the school year. The two biggest challenges we encounter are lack of support while school is out and the lack of interaction with children outside James’s special needs classroom.
Faced with this knowledge, I had to look for an alternative program for James during the summer months. I happened to stumble across the Rockford Park District’s Therapeutic Recreation program (an NIP trained program).
After learning that they would be able to provide highly trained support staff for James and an inclusive environment, I could hardly believe it but signed him up on the spot.
To say James’ camp experiences have been life changing hardly does the program justice. Through PEC cards, visuals, and some sign language, the staff has been able to draw more out of James than his regular school programs! He wakes up excited to go and actually signs “more” to us when we pick him up. He is surrounded by wonderful, supportive staff, and with one-on-one assistance, is able to participate in ALL the activities the campers engage in.
I have watched his confidence and self-esteem grow each summer he attends, and there are no words to describe the joy it brings me to see my child thrive in this program. James would not be where he is today were it not for the training and support of the National Inclusion Project.
Pictures and names have been changed for privacy.
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