About SPECTRUM: Spectrum Autism Support Group was established in the fall of 1998 for families, friends and teachers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) withinGwinnett County, Georgia and the surrounding areas. We are a parent operated group whose mission is to provide support, education and resources encompassing the entire spectrum of ASD for children and adults. Spectrum currently serves over 600 families in Gwinnett County and at least seven surrounding counties. Spectrum is pleased to be able to sponsor school year and summer programs for children of all ages with ASD. All of the programs offered have been developed to provide each child with opportunities to build friendships and generate social awareness within the community while improving self-esteem, self-awareness and independence.
What SPECTRUM Offers:
Monthly Support Group SPECTRUM hosts monthly meetings the first Thursday of each month featuring guest speakers who share their knowledge and expertise regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to the adult topical meetings, simultaneous programs are offered for children of all ages, and are staffed by autism professionals and community volunteers.
Asperger's Support Group Families of children with Asperger's Syndrome meet during the monthly support meetings. Speakers and facilitated discussions address issues and solutions pertaining to raising children with Asperger's syndrome. Some months this group meets with the main Autism support group if the topic applies to the entire autism spectrum.
Adult Asperger's Group This group provides an opportunity for adults with Asperger's/HFA to meet, support and learn from one another in a non-threatening environment.
Sibling Support Group Siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have specific concerns and needs related to life with autism. Spectrum offers a special group just for siblings during our monthly meetings facilitated by a trained leader. The program involves group discussion, arts & crafts and games and utilizes the SibShop curriculum by Don Meyer, which was specifically designed for children with siblings with special needs.
Dads Group This group meets monthly during the support group meetings to address the needs of the family from the dad's perspective and to provide them the opportunity to meet other dads and share their concerns and issues.
Grandparents Group Grandparents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders want to know more about what autism is, what this means for their grandchildren's future, and what they can do to help. Meetings are held during the monthly support meetings and address the unique issues related to families of grandchildren with Autism.
Family Outings Community outings for families such as egg hunts, costume parties, fishing trips, bowling, baseball games, parties and picnics are organized throughout the year. These events allow parents and families to participate in social setting in the community where they don’t feel isolated or misunderstood due to their child’s behaviors. Check our calendar here or watch the listserv for future events.
Respite Gwinnett Respite Gwinnett is a collaborative effort between Spectrum, Georgia Community Supports and Solutions, and Hi Hope Service Center. It is a respite program provided on the third Saturday of each month and is available for those persons with Autism ages 3-adult. GCSS waivers are accepted. For information and registration, contact email@example.com or 404-634-4222 ext. 501.
Gift of Time Respite We have also teamed up with First Baptist Church of Duluth to offer respite one Saturday a month. Pre-Registration is required, and respite support funds are accepted.
SPECTRUM also offers Social Clubs & Camps:
Spectrum Camps & Clubsprovides opportunities for children ages 4 to 22 to participate in seven weeks of summer camp with fun, interactive and instructional activities with an emphasis on social skills. Our Small Group program offers a high ratio of one trained staff member for each two to three children and accommodates children with moderate and severe Autism. Our Large Group program has a ratio of one to two trained staff members to ten children and is geared toward children who require less intensive support. We also offer specialty camps such as a one-week overnight camp, technology, art, science, drama and counselor in training programs.
Camp Journey weekend is our program to provide teens with HFA and Asperger’s an opportunity to spend two nights at Camp Twin Lakes/Will-a-Way at Fort Yargo in Winder. The program includes social skills lessons on teen issues such as inviting someone to dance, proper conversation topics, table manners and interacting as a team member. Typical high school peers are also invited to participate in the weekend activities.
Spectrum’s Kommunity Inclusion Project (SKIP) provides training and support to local community camps and churches so that children with Autism may be included in typical settings where they can learn crucial social, communication and play skills. Over twenty camps in the Gwinnett area have participated in this training during the past 10 years.
Thursday Social Groupsare for children, tweens/teens and young adults with ASD. All ability levels are welcome! The groups meet during the Spectrum monthly support group meetings (September through May). The emphasis of the program is improving social skills with fun, interactive and instructional group activities. The program also provides care for children so that parents can participate in the meetings knowing that their child/children are participating in an educational and structured program.
Saturday Social Group is a program we have been offering for the past five years for our elementary and middle school children. This is a chance for our kids with Asperger's/High Functioning Autism (HFA) to get together for games, friendship building, social skills, and establishing and maintaining friendships and more.
In 2011 we introduced a Drama Club for Elementary, Middle/High and Young Adults with HFA and Asperger's. Children through young adults with HFA/Aspergers Syndrome have the opportunity to explore the art of improv, drama, puppets and music with their peers. Our Drama Club is directed by a drama professional and music therapist who has extensive experience working with children and adults on the spectrum.This club has been very popular and culminates with a performance by the group at the end of the session.
Two new programs we have added in 2014 include Puppet Pals for our moderate/severe friends, and Art Pieces art program for our higher functioning community.