'I like it a lot': Autism services summer program offers campers a chance to learn
Waiting list for next year is already 20 campers long
Jamila Kusow can barely contain her pride as she points out different art projects scattered around the classroom she and other campers at the Autism Services Inc. have spent the past six weeks creating.
The ASI Summer Program specializes in working with children with autism from ages six to 21. Camp counsellors work one-on-one with the kids after going through a training program.
During an open house Thursday, Kusow and her fellow campers were given an opportunity to show off all of the work they created and everything they learned during the program.
"I like it a lot," she said. "I liked the open house. In the classroom we did art, we did the calendar, science and language."
Rollinda Laframboise visited the program at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Windsor. She has two children attending the camp, one as a counsellor and the other as a camper.
"For my older son it gives him a summer job and for my younger son it gives him the opportunity to be just like every other kid that goes to summer camp," she explained. "They taught him his address and his phone number. They taught him how to tie his shoes and it gives him an opportunity to know there are other kids just like him."
The program, which currently cares for 60 kids between its Windsor and Essex locations, receives some provincial funding, but parents still have to pay $2,000 — ASI president Michelle Helou calculates the total cost per camper at more than $7,000.
There's already a waiting list of 20 kids hoping to get into the camp next summer, according to Helou.
"We're very proud of this program," she added. "It's my belief it is one of a kind in Ontario and across Canada because it's as structure, one-on-one program for individuals with autism."