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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU holds camp for children with autism

The New Mexico State University College of Education, in collaboration with the Mariposa Autism Service Center, held an Autism Summer Camp June 7-10 on the NMSU campus.

Participant Ethan Algarate-Carter works on an arts and crafts project with the help of Aprendamos Intervention Team employee Amanda Morton during the New Mexico State University and Mariposa Autism Service Center's Autism Summer Camp. (NMSU photo by Harrison Brooks)

The week-long camp is the first in southern New Mexico for children with autism. Children from six to 12 years old participated in the camp, where they took part in activities such as swimming, arts and crafts and sports. The location of the NMSU campus made it convenient for families in the area. At the end of the week, campers named the event Camp New Amigos.

Activities characteristic of other day camps were chosen when planning the camp. As part of the arts and crafts, campers made musical instruments, pictures, mariachi parrots, hats and a book. At the NMSU Activity Center, the children played sports, such as floor hockey, basketball and bowling. They also went swimming at the NMSU Natatorium. Graduate student clinicians from the Communications Disorders Program played games emphasizing social skills.

"Our goal was to provide a typical day-camp experience for these children, while structuring the environment so they can be successful," said Kathleen Cronin, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders.

The camp was staffed by NMSU student volunteers, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and employees of Aprendamos Intervention Team. Two doctoral students in the special education component also helped, creating the arts and crafts activities and the swimming activities.