Columbus, GA — Children and families who receive services from the Southeast Regional Autism Center were treated to a day of horseback riding and a cook-out at Little Creek Farm in Upatoi, Ga. The Center is a nonprofit provider of comprehensive educational and behavioral services to families, private agencies, and public schools throughout the greater Tri-County area. It also provides services to military families stationed at Fort Benning and other bases across the Southeast.
This outing was a family-friendly extension of the Center’s social skills development program for children with autism and other special needs. The program specifically focuses on teaching children the social skills they need to make new friends and have successful community experiences. “These outings give children a chance to interact with others,” says Anne Stull, M.A., BCBA, senior behavior therapist at the Center. “They offer the entire family a social opportunity where everyone can relax and have fun.”
LaTanya Evans, parent to two children receiving services at the Center, couldn’t agree more. “The day was just awesome,” says Ms. Evans. “It was so well organized and staffed with all of these wonderful volunteers from the Center, the base and the farm. That gave the parents a real sense of security so that they could actually take part in the adventure too.”
With over 60 students, siblings, parents, and grandparents involved, the Center’s staff embraced the generous support of about 30 soldiers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) Community Service Program at Fort Benning, where staff from the Center provide a wide range of services to military families living on base.
“The soldiers loved giving their time to the children. Being a part of the day was as much a joy for us as we hope it was for the families,” says Sgt. Zkmain Mahoney, BOSS President at Fort Benning. BOSS now plans to include the Southeast Regional Autism Center as part of its ongoing community service agenda.
The Southeast Regional Autism Center is a program of May Institute, a national nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, research-based services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and other behavioral healthcare needs.
The Center’s affiliation with the National Autism Center enhances all training and educational services provided through the Southeast Regional Autism Center, meeting best practice standards for evidence- based behavioral and educational interventions for children with autism.
For more information about the Southeastern Regional Autism Center, visit www.mayinstitute.org or call (706) 571-7771.