FACT, or Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater, is a nonprofit organization in the Tidewater area of Virginia which seeks to enhance the lives of individuals and families with autism. This is done through a variety of recreational programs and generous donations from local community partners. Examples of these events include summer camps, evening social gatherings, sports programs, and more. If your child has been diagnosed with Autism and you are unsure of what your options are, it’s time you met the Tidewater autism society.
FACT has been serving the Tidewater area since 1993, growing from a handful of members to hundreds today. That’s because many kids and families continue attending FACT events for years after seeing what a wonderful organization it is. For instance, their camping program hosts several seasonal camps each year. The six-week “Gonnawannagoagain” camp is one of their most popular, with a low ratio of campers to staff and “peer buddy” assignments to help overcome communication barriers and offer positive encouragement.
FACT is also big on sports and activities. They recognize the benefits physical activity offers children with autism. Learn soccer at one of their sports clinics, shoot some hoops with “GonnawannaSWISHagin” basketball, practice your spike at volleyball, spend the evening bowling for strikes, or even learn how to ride a bike. FACT builds their sporting programs around a focus on teamwork and social interaction through casual activities that teach clear rules. The result is a place where children from similar walks of life can both develop and enjoy themselves.
But FACT does more than just host sporting events or camping programs, they also focus on integration into society.
Communication is an integral part of FACT because many children with the disability tend to experience difficulties socializing with others. Children with autism may have trouble with certain language skills, eye contact, or body language. A narrow focus on certain subjects or other unique behavioral challenges can also present themselves, which makes understanding difficult and discouraging for families too.
It’s easy for an entire family to feel isolated or cut off, and that’s why FACT provides the means for families to come together and spread the word that nobody is alone in this. It’s perhaps the greatest benefit FACT offers to the autistic community. Some organizations claim that autism speaks, but FACT listens.
If you’re in the Tidewater area and interested in seeing what FACT is all about, check out their website or Facebook page. Part of what makes FACT so great for the Tidewater community are the countless volunteers like you who help orchestrate these programs. FACT has it right: Children with autism are children first, and Tidewater is fortunate to have such a fantastic resource in their community.