“My son is pretty anxious and tends to be a homebody, and due to the autism, he has a hard time with friends. KEEN is the one activity he always wants to go to, and he always has a great time. He loves talking to the volunteers and being part of the group.
The biggest memory I have was the last session of summer and there were only 4-5 kids. Sophia, KEEN’s program manager, asked Zach if he’d like to lead the hokey pokey. He got right up and stood in the center and led it! Two years ago he had to be encouraged to participate. He looked so proud afterwards.
The circle time teaches them to listen to others and to take turns talking. Another thing that I noticed is that being part of this group has allowed Zach to learn acceptance–that all people have different challenges in life. We’ve talked after KEEN about how one child has trouble walking, or another can’t talk, and its led to good conversations on accepting our challenges and doing our best, and being kind to people as they have challenges, too, that may or may not be as immediately visible as a wheelchair would be.”