Impact of a Rural Community-Based Event for Families of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Kathy Ralabate Doody, Angela L. Patti
  • Rural Special Education Quarterly, July 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/8756870517721899

Community-based recreational events for children with ASD and their families

What is it about?

Families of children with ASD are frequently searching for community-based, recreational events that the whole family can enjoy. This study examines parent perceptions of an event designed specifically for children with ASD, their families, and invited guests to allow children to play and interact in a welcoming, sensory-friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere. Children with ASD were able to enjoy various recreational events housed in a children's museum located in a rural area, thereby providing opportunities for socialization, play, and interaction. Parents and siblings were also able to make connections with other families which allowed for camaraderie and peer support.

Why is it important?

The incidence of ASD is increasing yearly and it is crucial that our communities are willing and ready to support the unique recreational needs of this population of children and families.


Kathy Doody

As a special education teacher, and parent of a young adult with ASD, providing community-based events for children with ASD and their families was a priority for me, professionally and personally. Parents and siblings of children with ASD often report feeling isolated and judged; creating Au-Some Evenings was a way to allow all family members to enjoy quality time together in a recreational setting within their communities while feeling welcomed and understood.

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The following have contributed to this page: Kathy Doody