The first Family Fun Night was hosted at Glade Run’s Zelienople campus on Thursday, October 25th. The purpose of the event was to provide area families affected by autism an opportunity to network and enjoy a relaxed evening with dinner and social activities. Without a doubt, this goal was reached with 54 participants from 14 families all providing excellent feedback and all asking for more opportunities like this!
The evening was coordinated by our autism department in conjunction with Glade Run Adventures and family partnership support: each department lending a special touch to the evening. Jamie Grace, the director of autism services made sure that the venue was as sensory friendly as possible with light filters and a bean bag corner complete with sound cancelling headphones and sensory toys. Family partnership made the excellent suggestion of having all 22 children eat dinner first before allowing them to head off to activities in the Glade Run Adventure’s greenhouse and horse barn. This provided parents an opportunity to relax around the dinner table and meet some other area families that shared similar challenges. The kids loved grooming Taco and Beauty, our miniature donkey and horse, and making fall decorations from crumpled leaves in the greenhouse.
Many children knew each other from attending St. Stephen’s Academy on campus, and showed great enthusiasm for an opportunity to be social outside of the classroom. Parents commented that they were surprised at how relaxed and engaged their children were, and how much they enjoyed meeting other families with similar circumstances. A few other parents also commented on how much their typically developing children enjoyed meeting other typically developing siblings. With such great feedback the first Family Fun Night is sure to not be the last, so keep your eyes out for more opportunities for some family fun, or contact Jamie Grace to learn more!