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F.A.C.E.S. Northwest

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People with autism range from very low to very high functioning individuals. Each person has his or her own challenges and abilities. Children with autism do poorly in passive learning environments and need unique solutions.

A group of six families organized FACES (Families for Autistic Children's Education and Support) in 1998 to provide critically needed special education and services for autistic children and their families. Without appropriate services, the tremendous stress of caring for a person with autism can force parents to seek alternative care for their autistic child. With appropriate services, autistic children can develop to their full potential and families can stay together.

FACES NW's main focus began as an eight-week summer program to ensure that these children could continue to practice and strengthen academic and social skills learned during a typical school year. The summer program is delivered in a classroom setting with structured individualized one-on-one teaching of appropriate skills. The children are then integrated into community settings with support to participate and reinforce their skills.

The program has since expanded to include more children in the summer program, organized respite day activities during extended school year breaks, and lectures and training workshops geared both for the autism community, educators, and the general public of Whatcom County. FACES NW's newest service to families includes a monthly Super Saturday pilot program open to all children with disabilities where each child can participate at his own level in a fun, structured activity in a recreation-oriented environment.

FACES plans to further expand the summer program to include more children by adding a second teacher. A long-term goal is to provide a year-round school for children with autism offering behavioral, sensory, speech and occupational therapy support, continuing education, and family services. You can help make this ambitious goal a reality with a financial gift.

FACES was started by Cathy Loyd and Karlene Carlson because Evan Loyd and Cameron Carlson needed summer camp[1][2].

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