A judgment-free atmosphere, helping kids on the autism spectrum learn and grow.
News 8 introduces us to Sun, Moon & Stars during Autism Awareness Month.
With each step and every running leap, a group of kids at Jumpstart Therapy & Fitness Network in Watertown, is working on coordination while expelling energy.
“Diggy’s thing is if he can move, he’s good, he’s golden,” said Kate Keller, of her 3 year old son who is in the class for kids on the autism spectrum.
The program grew out of Sun, Moon & Stars, a support group founded by Christine Faressa, mom of 7-year-old Domenic.
“It’s really teaching them – how do we be a friend, how do we be a teammate? How do we act in this group setting? How do we share, take turns?” Faressa explained.
When her son was diagnosed a few years ago, she said there wasn’t much support in the area and it was overwhelming for the family.
“We had a very hard time, first of all, going out to dinner,” said Faressa. “So that’s where the idea came from, how do we go out to dinner judgment-free?
Faressa started a supper club, a simple idea that’s made a huge difference for Kate Keller.
“It was like this whole family. All these people embraced us, embraced Diggy,” Keller said. “We started having a social life again.”
“These kids need a strong tribe around them, so we have eight to 10 families that regularly interact with all the collaborations we do and we’ve seen these kids grow up together and reach milestones together,” said Faressa.
These parents share advice with one another and the community.
“Before you snap a judgment about a kid that’s misbehaving or a mom that’s having a hard time, take a moment and realize there might be more than you realize going on,” said Faressa. “Maybe offer to help instead of passing judgment. We’re all in this world together. If we could all be kinder, nicer and little more caring of our fellow human, what a great world this would be.”
Team Sun, Moon & Stars is preparing for Waterbury’s Autism Speaks Walk coming up on June 2nd.
If you’re interested in joining Sun, Moon & Stars, click here.
Also, check out the group’s Facebook page.