Thursday, December 27, 2012

Annual ASRC Holiday Party

Noah and Reagan visit with Santa 
On December 8, many of our families joined together for a wonderful holiday celebration, complete with food, fun and friends.

The children had a great afternoon making crafts, jumping on the bounce house, playing with games and toys such as outdoor chalk and Nerf guns, and finally meeting Santa Claus.  Santa was naturally gentle and kind, and he even brought his guitar to sing Christmas carols with the children.  Every child had the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap and chat with him, and tell him their most secret wishes.  Every child, young and old, received a gift and a wish for a wonderful holiday season.

The children weren't the only ones having fun.  The parents and family members were able to bond and meet new friends.  "It is nice to be able to bring our kids to a Christmas party and not be worried about their behavior," said Doreen Lund of ASRC.  "Everyone here understands and works together to make it a great day for the kids."

Approximately 80 people attended the year-end celebration.  The day started with holiday tattoos and crafts, a pot luck dinner, fun in the bounce house and other outdoor games, and time with Santa.  It ended at dark with an outdoor Christmas movie complete with hot cocoa and popcorn.  The families left with a new toy, some new friends, and a bright outlook for the upcoming year.  ASRC looks forward to our new year ahead with these kids and their families as well.

Monday, December 3, 2012

ASRC Kids: Community Service Project

On a beautiful day at the end of November, the kids of ASRC joined together to experience the wonders of the Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, as well as assist the Center with some plantings.  It was a great sensory activity, as the children touched the dirt, felt the sun on their faces, smelled the roses, and pulled and re-planted the seedlings into larger pots.

After planting, the group explored the live butterfly gardens, and tried desperately to get butterflies to land on their fingers.   Then they were treated to a "backstage tour" where they were allowed to feed and touch a turtle, pet a snake and even touch a giant lizard!  NuStar Energy sponsored the trip, and enabled all of the families to attend at no cost.  NuStar reserved the pavilion, offering families the opportunity to have lunch while examining the amazing butterfly exhibits.
Lastly, several groups participated in a scavenger hunt prepared by the DeCastro family.  The hunt took them ALL OVER the Gardens, and it was amazing to see the children's tenacity in finding the answers to the clues - no matter how far they had to walk.  Overall, it was a wonderful experience and the families had a great time.  Thank you to Dr. Womack and the Botanical Gardens, the DeCastro family, and NuStar Energy for providing an opportunity for the ASRC kids to contribute to the community.

ASRC Speaker Series

Licensed school psychologist, Amy Ehle,
speaks about the Autistic Brain
Q: Where might you find a large group of parents with children on the autism spectrum?  

A: At Legacy Healthcare, the second Tuesday of the month, attending a monthly speaker and dinner arranged just for them.

ASRC has been working with Legacy Healthcare and the Pediatric Therapy department to bring in speakers to educate and answer questions from parents with special needs children.  Legacy provides pediatric physical, speech and occupational therapies for children at their location on the corner of Staples and Holly.

Some of the past speakers have included:
  • an ABA Therapist speaking about "Understanding Your Child's Behavior"  
  • a financial group explaining "How to Plan Financially for Your Special Needs Child's Future" 
  • a dietitian speaking about "Strategies for an Autism Diet" 
  • a psychologist and her college-age autistic son explaining "How to Talk to Your Autistic Teenager About Growing Up" 
  • a special education lawyer from San Antonio speaking and answering questions about "Legal Strategies and Information about ARD Meetings" 
  • and a school psychologist speaking about the newest research "How the Autistic Brain Differs from the Neuro-typical Brain"
ASRC thanks Legacy Healthcare for sponsoring these dinners.    The series continues in January with representatives from the Special Populations departments of Del Mar College and TAMUCC.  They will inform parents of admissions requirements and resources available to college-aged special needs students.  Join us.

Art Night

November 9th, the kids of ASRC tried something new - an Art Night.  ASRC provided paint, paper, stickers, clay and crafts and the kids let their creative juices flow.  Each child made something unique and it was great to see the different artistic styles.  (One girl even glued a piece of pizza to her paper and decorated it - definitely original!)

The kids also made new friends, as several new families attended this month's pizza party and activity night.    As usual, the group also celebrated the birthdays of the children born in that month with a cake, singing the traditional "Happy Birthday," and a card signed by all the kids.  The monthly birthday parties are a wonderful opportunity for the children to have a small party, as oftentimes their social difficulties make birthdays somewhat lonely.  ASRC loves to see them smile, feel comfortable - and create!