Easter Seals Story: Getting Help for Asperger's Syndrome
Was it ADD? Anxiety? The Kozak family didn't know what was plaguing their daughter Abby. But with the help of Easter Seals Michigan, they found out and got the treatment and services they needed.
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Abby agrees. "Lately, we've been working on an anti-bullying campaign. We're planning a march," she says. "It's been a lot of fun just to hang out with a lot of different people who had similar problems to mine, so I related to them. I just feel comfortable."
The council of teens, which is part social group, part advocacy group, meets every two weeks, rotating between the Easter Seals offices in Auburn Hills and Southfield.
Through her involvement in Easter Seals, Abby, who used to shun crowds and keep mainly to herself, has been able to accept a role as Easter Seals' 2013 Child Ambassador. The assignment has given her a chance to talk to several groups about the importance of the services offered through the organization.
In September, she participated in the annual "Walk With Me Detroit" fundraising effort at the Detroit Zoo. Abby walked along with a crowd of over 600 people. When asked if she was anxious about being involved, Abby thought about it for a moment.
"It was kind of like, more like an excited type of anxiety. I was nervous about what was going to happen. But then I noticed that my friends were there from the Teen Advisory Council. I saw them and I thought, 'OK, I'm good.' It felt pretty good."
The P.L.A.Y. Project
Easter Seals also has a new early intervention program for kids with autism. In its effort to support families of these children, Easter Seals offers the P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project.
"Through the evidence-based program, parents receive training on how to interact with their (autistic) child in a way that promotes language development, encourages social interaction, and can lessen autism severity," says Solomon.
This early intervention program is primarily home based: Consultants visit with families in their homes and teach parents fun and useful ways to "play" with their children.
For more information, visit Easter Seals Michigan online or call 800-75-SEALS.
Easter Seals Michigan serves and supports people with disabilities or special needs and their families, so they can successfully live, learn, work and play in their communities. Easter Seals has been serving Michigan residents since 1920.