April is World Autism Month, so it is the perfect time for NCS’ Therapeutic Recreation Services to return to a popular in-person, free program for individuals with disabilities and their families.
FANtastic Times is a free program for persons 2 to 22 years old and their families. Due to COVID-19, this program – which offers monthly planned activities both in NCS facilities and out in the community – was curtailed. While there were successful online events, there was a significant impact on socialization opportunities for this population, says TRS Program Manager Sydney Solomon.
FANtastic Times will hold two Welcome Back events on Saturday, April 15.
- Sully Community Center, 13800 Wall Rd., Herndon, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Lorton Community Center, 9520 Richmond Hwy., Lorton, 2 – 4 p.m.
These new community centers each have Sensory Rooms. The programs will feature hands-on sensory activities, a photo booth, and information about upcoming events.
FANtastic Times is one of many programs Therapeutic Recreation offers. Many adult social clubs have been back in-person for a while. Kyle Hammersley, TRS program coordinator, said that has made a big difference in the lives of participants.
“I believe the clubs did have consistent participation,” he said. “However, I know the numbers were quite a bit lower than in-person programming. Being unable to be in-person affected many members’ life skills, not just social. Our clubs work on a lot of those skills while going out to different activities and events around the county. Quarantine also affected their living accommodations if they were in group homes, as well as their therapeutic support system.”
Hamersley said Therapeutic Recreation staff is very happy to welcome back club members. He said there has been a renewed interest in joining social clubs in 2023 – he saw the membership double in one club. He expects numbers to rise across many programs.
For more information about the FANtastic Times events or other Therapeutic Recreation clubs and programs, please visit the Therapeutic Recreation Services website or email NCS-TRACERS@fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-324-5532.