Parents of children with special needs often face a great challenge in finding afterschool, camp, and weekend recreational programs for their children. Most community-based programs are not designed to accommodate children with special needs. Yet extracurricular programs that promote socialization, friendship building, and other enrichment opportunities can be of great benefit to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. According to one parent, “I looked everywhere for an after-school program for my son with autism. I found programs that would accept him, but they weren’t right. Finally, I found Kids Like Me.”
The Help Group’s Kids Like Me Program offers day camps, after-school clubs and classes, social skills groups, and activities throughout the year designed specifically for children with ASD and other developmental disabili- ties. With a highly trained staff, Kids Like Me provides structured, supportive environments that enable children with special needs to grow and learn while having fun. The program includes field trips and recreational activities like games, art projects, and music performances. Kids Like Me promotes positive peer interaction, and many parents report that it’s the first time they’ve seen their children play with other kids.
As Program Coordinator Nicole Webb describes, “Kids Like Me facilitates new ways for children to learn how to make meaningful friendships.” Furthermore, “the children’s curriculum for each component of Kids Like
Me is specific to the needs of the children who participate.” As Kids Like Me demonstrates, it is possible to find an outstanding enrichment program customized for children with special needs.