The Full Life Ahead Foundation offers hope and support to families who have children with disAbilities.  I volunteered at the family camp held on February 6-8 at Children’s Harbor on Lake Martin in Alexander City, AL.  There were a couple dozen young people with disAbilities, about the same number of college students in rehabilitation studies from Auburn University and Central Alabama Community College who assisted all weekend, and dozens of parents and volunteers.  The disAbilities present included autism, Asperger’s, cerebral palsy, and several others.

Dr. Bob Babcock gave very informative talks on how to get the good sleep essential to physical and mental health and on the cognitive problems of autism, in particular, research that shows that autistic children avoid eye contact at a young age and thereby are impaired in the first social interactions with their parents and almost everyone else.

The young people who are disAbled get to interact with people who accept them just the way they are, and the parents get to share with those who have battled the same issues for decades.  The highlight of these camps is Saturday night Karaoke because kids who are often socially isolated get to sing their favorite songs in front of a live audience.

I thank Henry Barclay, president of the Foundation, for inviting me.  I remember the isolation of growing up with a brother who has disAbilities and mental illness.  (My first visit to probate court was to become his guardian.)  I wish we could have had as much support as I felt at Children’s Harbor.