Our Autism Program – Summer 2012 in Review

Summer 2012 in Review

During the summer months, Reaching Milestones with BCS took our kids on two field trips per week.  As anyone can imagine, these trips were super busy, sometimes hectic, and ridiculously fun.  Jacksonville is full of kid-friendly activities, and it is so wonderful to know that so many local businesses and organizations were willing to work with our specific needs and help us create an amazing summer for our uniquely awesome group of students.

The first two summer field trips had a common theme: firehouses.   It goes without saying that the huge fire-trucks at Firehouse 10 were a pretty big hit. The firemen did a great job of explaining the importance of calling 911 in an emergency, and their role in an emergency situation.  At the JFRD Historical fire museum, the BCS kids were shown how fire equipment has evolved over the years.  Many of the students thought the tour guide was joking when he explained that fire engines were actually pulled by horses less than a hundred years ago! Both of these field trips provided excellent opportunities for the students to practice listening as a group, follow group directions, and focus attention on a specific person.

Although many of the field trips took place at locations that the kids had probably visited with their families, bringing them there amidst a group of their peers allowed the BCS staff many opportunities to teach and mold social skills. For example, at the bowling alley, the students had to not only wait in line for their turn, but also pay attention to their peers in order to determine whose turn it was.  At the movie theater, the students were taught that even though they were sitting amidst their friends, talking isn’t always appropriate.  The field trip to the swimming pool was one of the more memorable ones of the summer, and it provided countless opportunities for the students to learn about safety, the importance of following rules, and learning to constantly being aware of their surroundings.

Hands down, without a doubt, the staff of North Florida Gymnastics in Orange Park made our field trips to their facility the most memorable and enjoyable of the entire summer.  Actually, we were so impressed with their hospitality and accommodations that we went there twice. The kids were given (supervised) access to so many awesome activities, including the trampoline track, the vault, the balance beam and bars. The fast pace of the day allowed the kids to transition from one activity to the next without problem behavior, and the unique and unfamiliar surroundings encouraged them to ask questions and pay close attention to instructions. They also competed in races, played with a parachute, and ran through a monster obstacle course.  We enjoyed eating lunch in the rooms the staff provided, especially because the owner’s dog came and sat with us and vacuumed up our crumbs as soon as they were dropped.  The gymnastics instructors were so impressed with our kids that they gave them each a trophy, had them stand on a medal podium, and recognized each child individually for his or her accomplishments for the day.  At BCS we know, without a doubt, that our kids are fabulous—it was great to see other people acknowledge this as well!  But really. This place was so awesome and the staff was so accommodating that I feel completely okay about the following shameless plug:      http://www.nflgymnastics.com/  Check them out and show them some love, because they went above and beyond for our kids.


At the end of each field trip, the kids were the perfect combination of happy and tired.  That, my friends, is what I call a success.  Check out the pictures and see for yourself what it’s like to spend the summer with Reaching Milestones with BCS.