Helping House changing lives with East Texas autistic summer camp

Helping House changing lives with East Texas autistic summer camp
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Helping House of Nacogdoches is playing a pivotal role in the intervention and support of East Texas families with autistic children.

Autism now affects 1 in every 68 children in the United States, according to the Autism Society.

With school out for the summer, the organization is preparing for one of their busiest periods.

"We triple our enrollment, double our staff, and move to a separate location and get ready for a busy 38 days," said Amanda Johnson, Director of the Helping House.

The Helping House of Nacogdoches puts a lot of work into keeping autistic children active during the summer months.

"I love summer it gives us an opportunity to work with kids we wouldn't otherwise be able to see," Johnson said.

The summer program is also fun for parents who believe the camp's activities and learning based resources keeps their children on track.

"Most kids do well with structure so I definitely feel like if he was out all summer he might regress," Christy Kile, whose son Jasper will be attending the camp.

Summer and Tim Norman are the parents to Caroline, who was born premature and suffers developmental disabilities.

"What I love about Helping House summer program is each child here is working to attain their each individual goals, said Summer Norman.

Many lives are changed within the walls of the Helping House, which is why some parents feel passionate it's a place that East Texas children with autism thrive.

"Because were a small town and to something this extraordinary here that helps so many kids, it's just wonderful," said Kile.

It's a small town, but the program has a huge enrollment. Johnson said their summer capacity has filled up, but the facility will see expansion in the works soon.

It's thanks to a generous donation the group recently secured -- their programs, specifically their summer program, will help even more children.

"We're in the planning stages, we have a building committee, we've hired an architect and we're working to getting that done hopefully by next summer," said Johnson.

Helping House's expansion not only helps reach more East Texas children it also adds a new level of education that public schools can't give to children with autism.

Chireno ISD Superintendent Tim Norman said it's this individualism that makes the Helping House such a blessing.

"It's parent's main focus- to do what's best for their kids. This expansion is something the community should be very excited about. It means more opportunity for reaching kids in need," Norman said.

With a rise in autism diagnosis around the world, according to the Autism Society, a group like Helping House is giving much needed help to East Texas families.

"Without the Helping House there are so many children that wouldn't get the attention and support they need," Kile said.

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