Free camp held for kids, young adults with autism

Published: Jul. 25, 2016 at 4:37 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2016 at 5:13 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Autism Society of North Carolina offered a free camp to people on the autism spectrum.

David Laxton, the director of communications, said nearly 20 Brunswick County residents received support services for the first time because of the camp.

The camp is funded by a grant from Trillium Heath Resources.

The four-week camp is open to for those between the ages of 4 and 22.

Directors said it allows for people to receive services they may not be able to afford.

He explained the camp offers a one-to-one ratio of counselors to campers. It allows for each camper to receive individualized care and attention.

"They get that little bit of assistance. Where it might be something as simple as hand to hand, hand over hand where they're helping them with their arts and crafts project, where they're helping them with social interaction with other campers, where they're just helping them just kind of like as a big buddy through the entire program," said Lee Whitford, the social recreation program director for Wilmington and Brunswick County.

The counselor also offered advice and tips for parents to use at home when the camp is over.

Whitford explained there have been an increase in cases over the past year. He said the area needs this type of service.

He hopes the camps will allow for people to really understand autism and get rid of any misconceptions they may have.

"I've seen the entire turnaround," Whitford explained while discussing the improvements he's seen in the kids. "Where kids have been written off, but with the right services, they've been able to become a successful part of the community, part of society where they hold jobs, they pay taxes. They do everything a 'normal' person is able to do."

The group will also offer programs for people of all ages starting in the fall.

For more information on autism and programming, click here.

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