Shell Jones, President and Founder of Play-Place for Autistic Children, a local 501(c )3 non-profit organization, and mother of a 10 year old son affected by autism, is a visionary leader driven by the premise that children challenged by autism are simply “differently abled.” Her goal is to provide advocacy, comfort, affordability, connections and hope with the ultimate ambition of making a difference. As a parent and education enthusiast, Shell’s efforts are focused on effective treatment and education, increased awareness of resources and direction.
Play-Place for Autistic Children’s mission is to create a fun-filled, family experience for children and families affected by autism. Through a unique play-powered environment, PAC combines recreation and education with a variety of social, occupational and physical overtones designed to promote endless hours of excitement, cognitive & social development, sensory integration, balance & coordination, depth perception enhancement and encourage exploration. PAC’s bottom line is to create a shared ambiance of inclusion, acceptance and support.
While autism’s primary focus of intervention is clinical, research, and bio-medical based, no one seems to address the everyday nuances of “living with autism.” Outside of the never-ending therapy sessions, doctor visits, blood draws relative to bio-medical treatment and the everyday classroom regimen of school, where can these autism affected children and families go without being judged, stared at, mocked, bullied or made to feel uncomfortable? Where can the entire family go to experience some form of normalcy, inclusion & socialization? Play-Place for Autistic Children embraces the elements of play, family, and recovery while the majority of autism supports are very rigid, inflexibly structured and deals solely with the affected individual. Our unprecedented model combines: play (a child’s natural form of engagement), education (both academic & resource), respite relief, management and direction to assist and support the challenges of autism. In comparison, other facilities that strive to incorporate play within their curriculum at most are only able to achieve the typical school-like sensory room layout with a ball-pit, a few therapy swings & colorful mats. PAC houses an amusement type schematic design with therapeutic overtones throughout for an exceptional format of fun, friendly, flexible intervention. Additionally, limited and infrequent fun-themed community events and therapeutic programming targeted towards special needs children (i.e., sensory jump at Pump It Up or MJR Theatre’s sensory friendly movie night) happen during a short window of operation (2-3 hours) and are oftentimes poorly promoted. PAC prides itself in the delightful element of accessibility. Driven by the demand of unpredictability, unique needs and flexibility, we are open seven days a week, from 9AM-8PM with no age restrictions.
Submitted by Anonymous
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