To kick off the “Summer Fun” issue of Positively Autism, we’re featuring an organization that promotes just that with its inclusive recreational programs. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation was founded in 2003 by singer Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel, a parent of a child with Autism, with the goal of making the activities available to typically-developing children accessible to all children.
One of these inclusion programs, “Let’s All Play,” was created to help community organizations that serve children become more inclusive to children with disabilities. This initiative has included the development of a summer camp program for children from ages five to thirteen.
Now in its fourth year, the “Let’s All Play” program has developed a model for recreational service providers that includes a comprehensive curriculum and special inclusion training. “Let’s All Play includes a training that is recommended for all camp staff—inclusion facilitators and other counselors—that sensitizes staff to the ‘Why’ of inclusion as well as giving them practical tools to implement successful inclusive practices,” says Aron Hall, the Foundation’s Vice President of External Affairs.
The Foundation also suggests that childcare and recreational service providers “build relationships with local schools and colleges/universities to establish connections with ‘consultants’ who can in a direct or indirect way help them understand the ‘atmosphere of inclusion’—which is very different everywhere—in their community. These consultants can be people who diagnose issues and help with resolution, they can help with training and best practices, or they can simply be a sounding board for ideas and concerns. Another invaluable resource are the parents who on a daily basis use strategies to ‘include’ their children in their family life.”
Recreational organizations interested in observing a “Let’s All Play” program or receiving training from The Bubel/Aiken Foundation can contact them at 919-882-2152 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Foundation has also exhibited and presented at the following 2007 conferences: YMCA National Camp Expo, the ACA National Camp Conference, and the Johns Hopkins Summer Learning Conference.
For more information about additional Bubel/Aiken Foundation grants and programs, please visit their website at http://www.bubelaiken.org/
Email interview with Aron Hall, Bubel/Aiken Foundation Vice President of External Affairs. April, 2007.
The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Website: http://www.bubelaiken.org/default.aspx?tabid=106