Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rural Mo. Autism Center Fills Need

UNION, Mo. -- It was time for an art project, but Blake Walkenhorst, 14, wandered into the corner of the room. "Blake has two choices, the ball or sit at the table," said instructor Meghan Radford, who had just finished another negotiation with a 13-year-old boy who insisted, "No art."
Blake sat at the table and stared at the Popsicle sticks and glue. "You need to keep trying," Radford encouraged. "You can do this." But instead, Blake opted to sit and bounce on a large exercise ball, which he finds soothing.
The boys were among four children with varying degrees of autism in a morning camp Monday at the new McGee Autism Center. Seven more were coming in the afternoon. The challenging moment was just a sliver for Radford, who volunteers the more than 60 hours a week she spends preparing and leading classes at the center.

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