Autism Evansville Hosting Annual ‘Night Out for Special Needs’ October 11th
According to Autism Speaks, the national organization dedicated to providing education and services to people with autism and their families, one in every 44 children in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder which affects how they learn, think, and problem solve. I think when most of us picture someone with autism, we see someone who is quiet, doesn't like to be touched, is frightened by loud sounds or other intense stimuli like flashing lights, and must have things done the exact same way each and every time or they will lose their minds, for lack of a better term. While that certainly is the case for some people diagnosed as being "on the spectrum," as they say, there are those who are highly functional individuals and live on their own with little to no issues. Regardless of where a child in the Tri-State falls on the spectrum, Austim Evansville is inviting them to the 2nd Annual Night Out for Special Needs on October 11th.
What is Autism Evansville?
Autism Evansville was started in 2012 by Colleen York as Inspiring Autism Spectrum Families with its mission being to provide those on the autism spectrum and their families the resources, care, support, and services they need in order to navigate daily life as smoothly as possible.
Over the years, the 501c(3) organization has evolved to provide education on autism to the general public to help the rest of us better understand what life is like for these individuals and their families. That includes working with local law enforcement and first responders on how to handle individuals with autism any time they're involved in an emergency situation. Earlier this year, Autism Evansville Executive Director, Kelsey Schapker, whose young son, Camden is autistic, created what she calls CAMSE kits, which stand for Cam’s Sensory Equipment. The kits include a weighted animal, a Pop-It, stickers, stacking blocks, and a fidget toy, among other items that first responders keep in their vehicles in the event they find themselves in an emergency situation with someone who is autistic to help keep them calm. They are currently being used by the Posey County Sheriff's Department, Evansville Police Department’s Juvenile Unit, officers in EVSC schools, and the Evansville Fire Department.
2nd Annual Night Out for Special Needs
Another way Autism Evansville helps both first responders and those with autism is by giving them the chance to hang out with each other at their annual Night Out for Special Needs. This year's event will happen at Christian Fellowship Church on Evansville's north side just east of Evansville Regional Airport on Tuesday, October 11th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM. The evening will give special needs children the chance to meet with members of the Evansville Police Department, including Chief Billy Bolin and Assistant Chief Phil Smith, as well as members of the EPD Mounted Patrol and K-9 Units, the Vanderburgh Sheriff's Department, McCutchanville Fire Department, the Evansville Airport Safety Department and more.
The event will feature a red carpet for families to take pictures, interactive activities, and snow cones from Kona Ice. For more information, e-mail Kelsey Schapker at firstname.lastname@example.org.