NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Helping House in Nacogdoches, a school for autistic children, is short on funds. A lost grant and a rained out Kite Fest, the school's primary fundraiser, are making the end of the year challenging.
An open house set for Tuesday will give the public a clearer understanding of the good work that goes on inside the Helping House and why continued support is needed.
Why should someone who has no connection to autism care if little Erika can read? Or that Maddie learns how not to be easily distracted? Or that Alex decreases his sensitivity to sound by listening to classical music?
Helping House director, Amanda Johnson explains autism is clearly a community issues.
"In the long term, the cost of people with autism as an adult is tremendous," Johnson said. "It's a tax burden."
However, if you can teach the autistic coping mechanisms and they can become productive.
"With early intervention, we're making changes in the time that matters, so that they can become functioning, contributing members of society as they get older," Johnson said.
Early intervention is exactly what parent Timeka Poullard wants for her daughters, 3 -year-old Kai and her twin, Karrine. Timeka found out in the spring her daughters are autistic and needed intensive behavioral intervention. Research led her to the Helping House.
"This is the only place I could find," Poullard said. This school so far has a big help. I noticed major changes in my children within a week."
It's no wonder The Helping House is experiencing growing pains. Parents of autistic children arrive from all over.
"Lufkin, Garrison, Pollok, Nacogdoches, Cushing, Douglass, Lufkin, and another Garrison," Johnson said.
One child stood under a tent where board members want to someday soon construct an additional building. The project has been sidelined. Now there's staff to pay. It's Helping House desire that Tuesday's open house will raise awareness and help supporters realize ....
"If they have children that don't have these learning disabilities that they might be more willing to work with those that do and to help us support programs like this," said Dr. Alan Sowards.
"The resources will enable the Helping House to prepare children for a public school setting and a place in society as they become adults.
The Helping House Open House and Silent Auction on Houston Street in Nacogdoches is Tuesday beginning at 5 p.m. Transportation from nearby parking at TJR Elementary and First Christian Church will be made available.