2500 Cabot Drive, Lisle
When the school day's over, it's often a challenge
for working parents to find after-school care for children with
autism. So last year, Giant Steps School in Lisle decided to start
The Rec Center, a program for after-school, days off and summer
break just for kids on the autism spectrum.
"Children and families really struggle when there are
breaks in school," says Susan Hamre, autism training center
director for Giant Steps.
Kids 5-22 can participate in The Rec Center, where they
take part in cooking, arts and crafts and physical activities.
During the full-day camps, children go on field trips to swimming
pools, ice skating rinks and local parks. The programs give kids a
chance to socialize in a less structured environment than
"I wanted to try to build a bridge between the strong
structure of school and the less structured home life, where kids
will often go to the TV or to their rooms and line up toys over and
over," Hamre says. "I wanted them to be engaged with soft structure
and learn how to make appropriate choices, how to stop and start
activities without having meltdowns. All these impact the
The cost of the program depends on the child's level of
independence, Hamre says. For example, one day of the full-day camp
is $70 for children who can be in a class with a ratio of 1 to 4;
$100 for a child who can be supervised with one other; and $165 for
a child who requires one-on-one supervision. For more information,
call (630) 864-3800.
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