I started today with a sense of urgency to get the ball rolling on some sensory friendly activities in the Chico area/Butte County. I googled what specifically it would entail to make each activity sensory friendly and then I proceeded to call the following: the corporate office of Cinemark, the Butte County Library Administration regarding storytime, the bowling alley, the Gateway Museum, and CalSkate. I mainly left voicemails or messages with individuals who were leading me in the direction of sales, as if I needed to rent the space up front and hope to gain back my personal funds at the end.
I started thinking of possible fundraisers and what avenues to pursue for help: ARC of Butte County, Rowell Family Empowerment Center, Far Northern Regional Center, the Yellow Door. Hmmm…my mind was racing. Then, when considering presenting this to the support group and what it may entail for each of us and glancing over my seaerched pages, I noticed the majority of these events were sponsored by autism societies (e.g. the Autism Society of Nebraska or AutismSpeaks chapters). I looked up the Autism Society of Northern California and discovered it did not exist, but I did find a listing for the Autism Society of California. The closest chapter is SF Bay Area…and there are a dozen chapters south of the bay area. I quickly called and left two messages regarding how to open a chapter in Chico/Butte County/Northern California. I did receive a message back stating that they are no longer regarded as chapters but “affiliates”. There is a national conference occurring in PA right now, so I should not expect a call back until next week at the earliest.
Then, I was wondering, “Geez, there is not a chapter in the Sacramento area listed, that is odd.” I decided they must have an AutismSpeaks chapter in that area instead. Then I quickly searched for AutismSpeaks Chico/Butte County and was referred to Autism LifeSpan which used to put on some gatherings for parents, but has not lately. I left a voicemail with them regarding how to jumpstart sensory friendly activities in the area.
It is sad that none of these exist where I live. When Roger started early intervention last February, I could not believe a support group did not exist. I was lucky enough to nag Rowell that they suggested that I start the support group and become the parent facilitator. I am hoping some of my phone calls today will make an impact for this area and all these great families!