This podcast is a recording of an interview with Renee Damon, Jenny Moyano, Teri Jones, and Shelly Fryer on May 4, 2009. Participants discussed an innovative partnership involving the Oklahoma Autism Alliance, the Oklahoma Family Center for Autism, First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, and the Edmond Family Center for Autism. Parents of children diagnosed with autism can frequently feel isolated. In addition, children with autism often have comparatively fewer opportunities to intentionally develop important play skills as well as socialization skills in supportive environments away from school or a clinic. Nursery staff and members of First Presbyterian Church of Edmond are providing evening care for children diagnosied with autism once per month so parents can attend support group meetings together. In addition, an innovative play group program involving a mix of autistic as well as typical children ranging in age from 20 months to three years is being held weekly to develop play skills. Children learn to work with playdough, play with kitchen toys, dolls, blocks, toy cars, and tools / construction toys in a six week program of planned activities. Melinda J. Smith’s book, “Teaching Play Skills to Children with Autism” has been an important influence on the development of this playgroup. This partnership is an example of a wonderful collaboration between a chuch community, local families, and a variety of support agencies to better meet the needs of autistic children and their families in central Oklahoma.

Show Notes:

  1. The Oklahoma Autism Alliance
  2. The Oklahoma Family Center for Autism
  3. The Oklahoma Autism Network
  4. First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma
  5. The Edmond Family Center for Autism
  6. Free online workshops: The Autism Toolkit
  7. “Teaching Playskills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Practical Guide” by Melinda J Smith

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