FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Area non-profit Autism Involves Me helps connect families with the resources they need for children with Autism.
Cashel Robert’s daughter Chanel, turned 5 this year.
“She is a ball of light. She loves to dance and pirouette,” Robert said.
In July, she was diagnosed with autism.
“I didn’t know what to do. Here I am pregnant, my baby’s been diagnosed with autism. She’d been kicked out of 5 different daycares in Northwest Arkansas,” Robert said.
Not knowing what to do, someone recommended she connect with the non-profit. Autism Involves Me, or AIM. Immediately, AIM started connecting Robert with the resources she needed.
“It takes special pediatric doctors to be able to work with a family that has a child with autism because there are several different aspects that come into play with that,” AIM Executive Director Paula George said.
“They provide classes. One class that I attended was a play therapy class where you can learn how to connect with your child with autism,” Robert said.
These classes and events help children like Chanel bond with friends and family.
“We always keep those events very sensory sensitive for our kids. There are various events they can attend throughout the year such as sensory sensitive movies or a back to school bash or a Christmas party,” George said.
It made it possible for Chanel and her younger sibling to still make memories together.
“My 5-year-old that has autism feels included with my 4-year-old and they’re both able to do all of the different activities. They love sitting on Santa’s lap and taking pictures,” Robert said.
These classes, resources and events are just the beginning for AIM.
“We have big hopes and dreams of other programs that we can put into play here in Northwest Arkansas and we are looking for sponsors and donors to come in and rally around us,” George said.
It will help AIM connect with more people like Robert.
“I thought I was all alone by myself with this child with autism and I wasn’t. There are a lot of people that deal with the same thing that I deal with,” Robert said.
Now she has a whole group of people she can rely on.
If you would like to help out with AIM through volunteering or donating, click here.