Autism Cultural Summer Program comes to Cherokee

by Jun 6, 2014COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments

Cherokee Central Schools will be participating in the first autism cultural summer program in Western North Carolina.  The Cherokee Central Student Assistance Program is hosting the Autism Cultural Summer Program at Cherokee High School June 24-July 3 with extended school July 7-18.  Hours are 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Contact director Reba Elders for more information at 554-5030 or email

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the U.S.  More children will be diagnosed this year with autism than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.  Autism affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys.  The average cost for families in care of an autistic child is $60,000 a year.

Autism is a complex neurological disorder that is characterized by a triad of deficits in thinking rigidity, communication and social skills.  Kids of autism are most often misunderstood and appear to have behavior problems rather than a neurological disorder.  It is important to be educated about the disorder to meet the needs of children on the autism spectrum.

According to the slogan from Facebook, “Kids with autism are DIFFERENT, NOT LESS!”

The Cherokee Student Assistance Program, Qualla Housing, and Principal Chief Michell Hicks support the growing concern for children of autism and continue to advocate for programs to fulfill the needs of these special children.

Tuckasegee Baptist Association, with the support of Jean Frady and Nancy Sherrill, are excited about planning a special needs vacation Bible school program this summer.  More details will be coming soon.

“Children with autism are capable of amazing things when given the loving support of family, friends, and the community,” Autism teacher Jennifer Hunt said.

She challenges the community to find ways to continue to bring awareness to autism and support local programs that meet the needs of our children.

– Cherokee Central Schools