Summer camp starts for children with autism

Imperial County

Summer camp starts for children with autism

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IMPERIAL, CA (13 On Your Side) - Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S. - affecting one in 88 children.

But often times no one recognizes the symptoms.

Now, there's a camp for children with autism - aimed to help them learn skills to be around other people.

Julian Ochoa was diagnosed with autism last year, at the age of three, after his mother - Patricia - noticed he had trouble interacting with others.

"He doesn't focus all that great. So here it doesn't matter if he's not focusing because we can just do what we want rather than at a regular sports camp with other children."

Ochoa says the summer camp for autistic children of Imperial County is a great way for her son, Julian, to play without boundaries and for her to network with other parents.  

"A lot of children have behaviors that are seen differently by others. So when we get together we understand each other and we don't feel judged that our children are behaving differently."

Camp director Oscar Gonzalez says this is the 3rd year the Autism Support Group of Imperial County organizes the summer event.

He says, the camp has been a success in previous year - serving as an outlet for the children.

"Like I said, the social aspect is great. They get to play games, or just participate in physical activities that aren't regularly offered anywhere else. And with the weather, the way it is outside, nothing is really offered for them to do."

Gonzalez says - the camp is held at the Seanez Academy in Imperial.

Children can participate in various activities - including soccer and Wiffle ball - at their own pace and with their parents.  

"It also gives the parents a chance to socialize with them, to interact with their children in a different aspect outside of the home."

The autism summer camp started today but will continue twice a week until August.

The camp is free for children starting at age five and for adults ages 18-21.

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