Milestone moments for children with autism
A play date, bushwalking adventure, or speaking up in class: these are proud moments for any parents. But for the parents of students at The Lab Hornsby, these are the milestone moments: the stories they share with friends, capture photos of and result in tears – happy tears. These children have high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome and their parents relish in seeing them achieve things they never thought possible.
For one mum, watching her daughter stand up and lead her class in dancing was overwhelming. Bella* had never spoken to another person at The Lab but, when a new video game was projected onto the screen, she got up and started moving to the music. Her mum instantly broke into tears. This is one of many milestone moments taking place at The Lab.
“We knew it could offer a great socialisation opportunity for a range of young people who, through no fault of their own, become very socially isolated. The Lab offers young people with Asperger’s or high functioning autism, who have a strong interest in computing, the opportunity to come together in a friendly and appropriately supported group: to have fun, make friends, and learn new things. We watch so many of them grow in confidence, developing great friendships, and growing significantly in their communication skills,” Mark said.
“These young people can have difficulties at school, making friends and generally not fitting into the mainstream. Most are not interested in weekend sport at all and would prefer to play games on their computer every waking hour. It’s amazing to see, after one session at The Lab, the vast majority of young people can’t wait to come back the next week. Parents tell us that Saturday is the one morning of the week that their kids jump out of bed early and can’t wait to get to The Lab session.”
“The Lab Hornsby has now been operating for five and a half years. It’s hard to believe, but it’s still as exciting to me as the day we commenced, watching the participants develop skills that are so easily taken for granted.”