COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - A nondescript building off Academy is home to a non-profit organization that is a life saver for parents of autistic children. PlayDate is a safe place for their kids and a haven of hope for their parents.
Randi is a military mom with an autistic three year old named Shannon She tells me that PlayDate is too important for her and her little girl, "They know what her issues are and more importantly they know how to communicate better with her and help her to be more successful." PlayDate is not only for Shannon's growth but also Randi's, "Sometimes as a Mom of a special needs child we get so wrapped up in things that need to be done that that it's easy to forget the things that a Mom needs to do. It's nice to get my hair cut or just quietly read a book or get a cup of coffee and not have to worry about Shannon and her care." More than 30 percent of the children who are at PlayDate have parents who are active or retired military.
Christina Nulk founded PlayDate in 2007. It started with four children and has now grown to more than 70 special needs kids. She says that autism services in Colorado rank 47th in the nation and that Colorado ranks 12th in the nation for the number of autistic people, "We are able to look at the skills they need and teach them how to interact with their environment, to be able to help them communicate and help them succeed in their activities of daily living."
Rachel is another mom who believes in PlayDate for her six year old son Isiah, "For them to be in a place that they are safe and well taken care of and getting developmental coaching is a huge relief. We have been very happy here."
Every Friday we wear red to honor our military and those who support them. If you know someone or some organization that fits that bill, go back to the Wear Red Section and nominate them. I've also put information about PlayDate under Big Stories and the hot button story.