Autism awareness group holds Family Fun Day

HOUGHTON – Partway through Copper Country Autism Awareness’s second annual Family Fun Day, it was already a wonderful day, said one of the group’s founders.

“It’s been wonderful,” Kathe Lanctot said Saturday. “We’ve seen a lot of kids having a good time. A lot of smiles, and we’ve had quite a few new people attending this year.”

Twenty-six families and 36 children attended the event, Lanctot said this morning.

Children played in a bouncy castle or tried games such as bowling, digging for toys in a rice bin or fishing for plastic ducks.

“It just seemed like fun for the kids, and it was a good way to spend the day,” said Heather Poll of Iron Mountain, whose 5- and 9-year-old children have autism.

Poll said it was a good event.

“It’s not too crowded, it’s nicely organized, and everybody’s very friendly,” she said.

The event helps draw awareness to autism spectrum disorder, said one parent, who later requested her name and her son’s name not be used.

Her son, 6, was diagnosed with autism in kindergarten.

While he’s “very, very bright,” she said, he’s still figuring out how to catch up socially.

“We just focus on his strengths and things he really likes,” she said. “We try to make him try new things from time to time, so he can break out and acclimate himself to new situations.”

“He’s come a long way,” she continued. “With the help of early childhood (education) and understanding this, he’s gotten so much more social.”

As he uncovered more toys in the rice, Lanctot gave him some praise.

“I think this is the best anyone’s done today,” she said.