People with autism and their families are welcome to join in the first Autism Outdoors! Free exploration event at Lake Elizabeth behind the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side, on Saturday, June 11th from 10 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This event will take place rain or shine.
Venture Outdoors approached the autism group in an effort to expand their reach and expertise working with those with disabilities. Staff attended autism training at ABOARD’s Etna office and the groups continue to meet to design a sensory-friendly and exciting day of kayaking, wall climbing, bicycling, and geocaching (treasure hunting with GPS.)
“We encourage families and care givers to participate alongside our friends with autism. School, therapy and support groups can become something like a full time job. We encourage folks to come out and enjoy the outdoors to bond in activities that don’t require lots of talking. We hope many will find a new outdoor sport to share for a lifetime!” said Lu Randall, Executive Director of ABOARD.
“Our staff has spent a lot of time learning and talking about autism and how we can best support people having a great time outdoors! “ said Jeremiah Morrison, Program Director of Venture Outdoors. “We want families to feel welcome to all forms of trying new activities. Some may want to just sit in a kayak on dry land to try it out for the first time. Others we know will jump right in. No matter what, our staff is excited to meet new Venture Outdoors participants!”
Both groups plan to work on future partnerships, helping people with challenges learn about outdoor activities through print, video, practice and get-togethers designed to meet special needs.
Those interested in sponsoring or attending Autism Outdoors! should contact Rebecca Williams Thomas at 412.449.0165 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Venture Outdoors, a non-profit organization, seeks to transform the Pittsburgh region into a place where the outdoors is an integral part of our culture, identity and lifestyle. VO does this by increasing participation in outdoor recreational activity. This in turn creates a sense of community among participants, an increased awareness of the region’s excellent quality of life, and a better understanding of and deeper appreciation for the environment and wilderness among the residents of and visitors to western Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.ventureoutdoors.org or call 412.255.0564.
ABOARD was founded as a non-profit advocacy organization in 1995. Through its Family Support Services, 62 support groups in 46 Pennsylvania counties are sponsored by ABOARD. ABOARD sends comprehensive information packets to families of newly diagnosed children and adults with autism, staffs a toll-free hotline, and maintains an up to date website. The most current information pertaining to autism is available through the free lending library of over 800 publications, a quarterly newsletter, and an informational weekly e-mail. More information, can be found at: www.ABOARD.org or call 412.781.4116.