Nacogdoches' Helping House teaches, inspires autistic students

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Excitement is building for tomorrow's Helping House Kite Fest at the Nacogdoches Airport. The free family event brings awareness during National Autism Awareness Month.

East Texas News went the school to see how community support is making autistic children happier. Helping House students love visitors, especially when they bring a camera.

The distraction goes away when the conversation turns to the kite fest.

Mason, one of the students at Helping House, said he already has a kite, a green one. When asked if it is be pretty, he replied, "Handsome."

Communication skills are a big part of what goes on at the Helping House. It's not always easy for some students. But with instructional skill and lots of patience favorable results surface.

Like all young children, Mason is told to stay on task. He has one other order, though. Don't sing.

"Now he does his work independently and doesn't sing in the middle of his work as much," Samantha Pitts, a teacher at Helping House, said.

Helping House founder and director Amanda Johnson says the goal is to help bring the smart out in each child.

"Autism is not a mental illness," Johnson said. "It's categorized as that, but it is not a mental illness. There are many physiological symptoms of autism that we're struggling with."

"Y'all see what I see that nobody else will see in him," Michelle Vaughn, a parent of one of the students, said. "And that's made him very happy and I'm very grateful for that."

Other families will share similar appreciation at Saturday's Kite Fest. The public is invited to see a huge caterpillar in the sky. The bonus is watching the children's enjoyment. If you're lucky you may see Mason's handsome, green kite.

The Helping House Family Kite Fest is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the A.L. Mangham Airport in Nacogdoches. The event is free.

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