Autistic Kids Attend Camp

Nevaeh Turner is a beautiful four year old child.

"She's so dramatic, when she's happy, she's extremely happy, when she's excited about a story, she can't wait to tell it," said her mother, Stephanie Turner.

But at 18-months-old, Nevaeh's parents noticed something was wrong. “Nevaeh didn't make very good eye contact and she didn't respond to you when you called her name," Turner said.

Nevaeh was diagnosed with autism, and her parents started intervention immediately.

"Nevaeh is a wonderful child that has overcome some big obstacles with behavior and speech," said Family Options Autism Coordinator Michelle Antle.

One of those interventions is a camp called Building Bridges, which works with autistic children on language and socialization skills, sensory stimulation and more.

"There was a need for services in this area and parents just begged and flocked. With such few service providers in the area we decided we would do all we could to service the kids that we could," Antle said.

One of the best things about Building Bridges is that instead of one-on-one treatment, kids with autism get to play and learn with other kids, which is something Nevaeh's mother says she really needed.

"You can see her already taking to two or three of the kids as we leave, so it's good," Turner said.

Doctors and therapists say the key to helping autistic children is intervention as early and often as possible.

"That way, maybe by the time she's in kindergarten she has a lot of words and social skills and she can pull through without a lot of special needs help," Turner said.

Turner said the best thing she's learned as a parent is to pick her battles. “There's nothing to hold them back, you just have to push them forward," she said.

For information on TJ Samson Hospital, log on to www.tjsamson.org.

To call Family Options, a mental health agency:

Glasgow Office: 270-526-2228
Bowling Green Office: 270-745-9945


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