Macomb County will soon have a recreational, educational and therapeutic facility for kids with autism and their families, which is set to open on Aug. 15, 2014
An innovative space for kids with autism and their families is opening in Sterling Heights on Aug. 15 – and it's promising lots of fun and an incredible community.
That's the vision of founder Shell Jones. As a mother of child with autism, she knows the rewards and challenges firsthand. In Michigan, there are more than 50,000 people with Autism, she notes – 16,000 of which are school-aged children.
Play-Place for Autistic ChildrenAddress: 41105 Technology Park Drive, Sterling Heights
Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, starting Aug. 15.
Prices: $7/drop-in rate covers play equipment; $99-$150/month memberships include additional amenities
"We have a concentration of about 8,000 of those kids right here in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties," Jones says. When she noticed a lack of appropriate activities for her child that encompassed the entire family, Jones set out to create a facility to do just that.
Play-Place for Autistic Children is a recreational, educational and therapeutic facility. Splashed with color and tactile touches, this cutting-edge 25,000 square-foot space has a carousel, giant slide, swings – plus a computer café, movie theater, laser-light chalk room and haircut hut, all specially designed for kids with autism and their siblings, parents and caregivers.
"Every piece of equipment that's going to be featured in the center has some type of therapeutic or educational element," Jones says. "We basically provide a judgment-free, non-discouraging, safe place for families to come and enjoy some quality time together."
It's open to all ages – currently as young as 3 and as old as 52, Jones notes. "We're actually going to be running the center in the beginning; 50 percent will be volunteers. Our ultimate goal is to have at least 50 percent of the center ran by people with autism."
With the opening of the facility just months away, there are opportunities to get involved and help out by volunteering, fulfilling PPAC's wish list, or getting involved with its fundraiser. Want to help this month? Buy tickets to Detroit Pistons' April 13 home game, through the PPAC website, to help raise funds for the final construction. Tickets are $15-$30.
Person First Language
Thank you for sharing this exciting news! In the future, please, please, PLEASE use person first language. Yes, these children have autism, but there is SO much more to who they are than that diagnosis. Please refer the them as children who have autism. Although you might not view autistic as a word that holds negative connotation or use it with negative intent, using it allows people to see children first as autistic and second as a child. The language you use is very important. Please use it carefully and positively. Thank you. :)
As a Grandmother with an autistic 15 year old grandson, a place for him to interact with
children of all ages, and young adults his age would be awesome!. He is all over the place intellectually, he enjoys some activities that 8 year olds like to do, he enjoys playing different musical instruments his 'own' way and I am sure no one there would make fun of him. Yet he is a typical 15 year old in his own way. He is our blessing and we would love nothing better than to have somewhere for him to meet new friends and perhaps learn new social skills by association with the other kids! It can be hard at his age to have other kids his age that are not ASD understand where he is coming from. This place can do nothing but good for ASD angels!
As a volunteer and a future teacher of children with ASD I love this idea! And possibly somewhere I could volunteer or even pick up a part time job doing what I love! :)
As a former teacher of children with Autism in Michigan, I am grateful and thankful for a place like this. I know how many parents are stuck at home because of people being insensitive to their child's behavior!. People often forget that Autism is not visible to the eye! Good Luck
I am a teacher for students with ASD. I am retiring this year after 46 years
Forty years have been with students with special needs.Your facility may be something I could volunteer at and be helpful!
Yay I cant wait this.sounds like so much fun so close to home.
My family will utilize this as my son has a great fear if wind but loves to play and swing.
What an awesome idea.
This is totally awesome for those in the area! I hope someone copies the idea in the Lansing area.