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DLI Twenty Sixers

Team members: Pam Bedenbaugh, Charles Boykin, Doug Pardue,
James Smith, Rodney Thompson, Lorri Unumb

The goal of the DLI Twenty Sixers project is to provide children with autism an opportunity to interact with typically-developing children and to provide typically-developing students with an opportunity to learn about autism, to develop a relationship with an affected child, to be exposed to a potential career path and to create a sustainable project model for the Autism Academy. To achieve this, the team initiated a “Mix-it-Up Day” at the Autism Academy of South Carolina where approximately a dozen children with autism, a dozen students from Dreher High School, AASC staff members, DLI participants, one staff member from the high school and a news reporter from The State came together for a day of fun. The day began with an educational presentation about autism, with Q and A, for the high school students. The presentation was followed by activities that facilitated interaction between the children with autism and the students from the Dreher High. The staff at the Autism Academy planned activities for each child on an individualized basis and supervised and assisted with the interaction. Activities included arts and crafts as well as outdoor play, such as ball play and parachute play. Finally, all participants enjoyed lunch together, with additional Q & A between students and staff.