Autism Awareness soars to new heights at Family Kite Fest - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Autism Awareness soars to new heights at Family Kite Fest

Dozens of kites filled the skies over AJ Mangham Jr. Regional Airport on Sunday. Dozens of kites filled the skies over AJ Mangham Jr. Regional Airport on Sunday.
The Helping House hosted its free 5th Annual Family Kite Fest. The Helping House hosted its free 5th Annual Family Kite Fest.
Hundreds of families, friends and animals were on hand to take in the windy, yet sunny day for Family Kite Fest. Hundreds of families, friends and animals were on hand to take in the windy, yet sunny day for Family Kite Fest.
NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Hundreds and hundreds of East Texans made their way to A..L. Mangham Jr. Regional Airport for The Helping House's 5th Annual Family Kite Fest.

“We do this event in April because April is Autism Awareness Month,” explained Amanda Johnson, Director, The Helping House, 401 Houston St. “Kites are just a fun thing that families can do together. And April is usually a very windy month. So, we've gotten a great response every year from people who want to come out and do something with their family."

The Helping House began operation seven years ago as an alternative to the limited assistance a student may receive in area school districts. Prior to the establishment of The Helping House, Johnson said families would have to travel to Houston or Dallas to receive early intervention services for their child. Their office has served more than 100 students and their families, with some driving up to an hour each way to take advantage of the one-on-one specialized sessions.

“We do a lot of free consulting and working and equipping parents and other smaller school districts in dealing with their kids,” Johnson said. She said that early intervention is the key to helping a child with autism. And that begins with your child's doctor and his/her diagnosis of the child. The Helping House is also a United Way organization.

Sunday's free Family Kite Fest was the second attempt by the organization to host the high-flying event. It was previously canceled due to rain. The fest also included an airport open house. Along with flying kites, families could by food and drink vendors, as well as snow cones and cotton candy. There were a host of games and activities include kite races, candy drops, bounce houses and a rock climbing tower. AmeriCare and Tutor Doctor were on hand to provide educational information.

To learn more about The Helping House, visit http://www.the-helping-house.org/.

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