Julie and Robert Manning never expected to see their autistic daughter Olivia wearing a helmet and riding a horse. As well as horseback riding, we also saw wakeboarding, rock her climbing, ziplining, skiing and rafting, thanks to Asendigo Autism Services.
“She came home fresh and refreshed. She had a glow from the sun,” Julie recalled Olivia’s time at camp.
Ascendigo Autism Services is a Roaring Fork non-profit organization with roots in the summer camp known as Extreme Sports Camp. According to Julie Kaufman, chief of Ascendigo, his development officer, summer camp will ultimately be a facilitator of outdoor activities throughout the year, his recreational activities, inclusive life his programs for adults, and activities for children. evolved into therapy.
“It opened up a whole new world for us,” said Julie. She said, “She was so different from what Olivia thought she could be, I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Julie grew up in Aspen, and when she returned to Aspen, she attended a charity event for the Ascendigo without even knowing what the organization was about. When she learned that Ascendigo served adults and children with autism, she knew she needed to get her autistic and non-verbal daughter on board.
Olivia was eight years old when she began traveling from Seattle to Aspen to attend summer camp at the Asendigo. About four years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Manning relocated to Old Her Snowmass, so Olivia now has access to Ascendigo’s program all year round.
The services Ascendigo provides for children and adults with autism extend beyond summer and winter camps, Kaufman says, and that’s what Ascendigo is best known for. Ascendigo prepares children and adults with autism to succeed in everything from school to life skills.
Ascendigo Outreach ProgramOlivia Involved supports children from elementary school through high school with a variety of services. In Olivia’s case, Ascendigo provided her with school personnel to help her get through her daily activities and tasks.
For Olivia, school is about life skills, not academics, Robert said. On some days, she does things like go to Walmart and the grocery store with the Asendigo staff.
“With the Ascendigo people together, she can do a lot,” he said.
Going to the store with Olivia isn’t easy, Julie added.
“They talk through it[with Olivia]and it’s amazing what they can do for her,” Julie said.
In her eyes, the Ascendigo staff working with Olivia is the most important part. I agree to be aware of
“They’re calm and they really talk to the kids. Olivia may be excited and looking elsewhere, but they’re sitting there talking to her and she’s listening.” They really understand[the Ascendigo staff]and they take their time with her,” she said.
Olivia is mute, so her parents and Ascendigo staff have had to work to find ways for her to communicate. Although she is illiterate, she uses her iPad with tiles labeled “People,” “Places,” “Help,” “Yes,” “No,” etc. to help her can convey the thoughts of
“We had a speech therapist who built her an iPad completely so she could further develop her communication skills,” says Robert.
Olivia turns 21 and transitions to the Life Enrichment Program through Ascendigo. The program provides daily living support for adults with autism, Kaufman said.
“We provide all kinds of life skills support that adults need, such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, and learning how to ride a bus,” she said.
Ascendigo also helps connect adults with professional opportunities. She added that she has Ascendigo adults working at Element Hotel and Glenwood Hot Springs.
For the Manning family, finding the Ascendigo was a dream come true, and enough to convince them to move to the Valley.
“If she didn’t have the Ascendigo, there would be nothing. She would be (at home),” said Julie.
In terms of Ascendigo’s leadership, Kaufman said he’s proud of what people have achieved with the program experience.
“I think the impact Ascendigo has on the community as a whole provides a different perspective on people with disabilities and what they can do and how much they can do,” she said.
To contact Audrey Ryan, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.