New after school program in Syracuse helping children of all abilities

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Right now, it’s hard for Syracuse parents to find an after school program that offers help to kids of all abilities.

ARISE Syracuse is working to fill that gap by creating its own program, which started just four months ago.

“There seemed to be a significant gap in respite services, which gives parents and children an opportunity for kids with disabilities to come somewhere in a safe space that understands their needs,” said Betty DeFazio, chief development officer for ARISE Syracuse.

Their new program does just that; it’s an after school program running from the afternoon to dinner time. During school breaks, it switches to a full-day operation.

It’s for kids of all ages and abilities, surrounded by professionals who know how to care for each of their needs.

“I think it’s really hard for parents to be able to know that their child is safe at all times, especially with kids with disabilities. So it definitely helps the families feel secure,” said Mary Kate Menges, coordinator of inclusive recreation.

Though the after school program is catered to children of all abilities, they do have special elements in the room like a sensory corner for children who may have sensory issues and need to just hide from the light, sound, or really just be alone.

And while the alone time is important, the program is really all about teamwork.

“They are working on playing with other kids and they’re walking around and they’re seeing what other games the kids are playing and they’re also joining in with them,” Menges said.

Right now, only seven kids are a part of the program, but that’s because it’s just starting out. If you think this could be a great fit for your kids,
visit this website.


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