Programs

Fun and Enriching Activities for People With Autism

CAMPS

Week-long programs that meet Monday through Friday are designated as camps.

Gonnawannagoagin’

Campers will expand their social and communication skills by joining one of our six, week-long summer camp sessions in Virginia Beach. We also offer a one-week session every spring, and when the school schedule allows, another camp for the winter break. Students ages 5 and older with a primary diagnosis of autism are eligible to attend. For individuals on the spectrum, Camp Gonnawanngoagin’ is a haven free from the daily struggles of processing the world they live in. We provide the communication and behavioral supports needed for every child to be successful.

Campers with ASD and student volunteers register here

ICAN BIKE

Learning to ride a bike creates opportunities for children with autism to develop social interaction skills, improve fitness, and boost their self-confidence. Biking is enjoyed almost everywhere at any time of the year by people of all ages and genders. It is also a valuable mode of transportation. FACT partners with iCan Bike to teach individuals with developmental disabilities ages 8 and older how to ride traditional two-wheel bicycles.

information for families

  • Camp Gonnawannagoagin’ is an autism-specific program. Although we accept students with multiple diagnoses, we prioritize students that exhibit primary deficits in communication and socialization.
  • We have a knowledgeable, compassionate staff that maintains a 1-2 guardian-camper ratio. Everyone is assigned a typical “peer buddy” that models expected behavior and offers acceptance and encouragement.
  • We accept applicants with a wide variety of ability levels. Students who are non-verbal, or require toileting assistance are accepted.
  • Our staff is mindful of sensory integration needs, language processing delays, dietary restrictions, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and limited awareness of environmental dangers.
  • Campers with emerging verbal and social skills benefit from typical peer interactions and supported introduction to a variety of social and recreational skills.
  • Due to the active nature of our camp, FACT is limited in its ability to accept students with physical disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments.
  • Attendance is limited to a maximum of two weeks during the summer, so we can offer the opportunity to the largest number of campers possible.

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Programs that meet monthly for the purpose of enhancing social skills and community integration are designated as social programs.

Teen Time (Ages 13-18) and Social Club (ages 19-30)

Teen Time and Social Club are monthly group excursions designed to foster an accepting environment for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. We aim to make all of our participants feel appreciated for their individuality and to teach them how to treat each other with respect and kindness. Outings are specifically chosen so that our students have increased opportunities to socialize with their peers.

SUPERVISION

Adult staff and peer volunteer chaperones will provide a 1:6 supervision ratio. Peer volunteers will also participate, but their primary purpose is to provide social interaction, not supervision.

REGISTRATION

Everyone must RSVP online a minimum of 48 hours prior to Teen Time. Please note that space is frequently limited and may be sold out before the deadline.

FEES

FACT will generally charge the price of admission for events and absorb most of the cost of staffing and transportation. Financial brackets and military discounts will apply in most events.

CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION

  1. Participate in a conversation and recall a series of events, for example: “My mom took me to Ocean Breeze for my birthday. We went down Jungle Falls three times.”
  2. They should be able to verbalize their feelings. For example: “I feel frustrated when my brother won’t share.”
  3. Make specific requests for assistance and know what to do in a crisis, for example: “Where is the bathroom?” or “I am lost. Can you call my dad?” Participants should know their caregiver’s phone numbers or have them written down and on their person.
  4. Follow multistep directions and ask for clarification if needed, for example: “When we get to the roller rink, please put your shoes in a bin and get in line to ask for your skates.”

If you have questions about your child’s eligibility, please call or email us. Age-appropriate student volunteers are welcome.

Teens and adults with ASD and volunteers register here

Out-n-About (13 and Older)

This program is designed for individuals ages 13 and older who do not meet the communication and behavior criteria for Teen Time or Social Club but still want and need to spend time with their peers enjoying recreational activities. Participants do not need strong receptive or expressive language skills. Activities will be modified whenever possible. Communication supports will be available, and individuals who wander, run, or exhibit unusual behaviors will be closely supervised.

SUPERVISION

Adult staff will provide a minimum 1:2 supervision ratio.

REGISTRATION

Everyone must RSVP online a minimum of 48 hours prior to Out-n-About. Please note that space is frequently limited and may be sold out before the deadline.

FEES

FACT will generally charge the price of admission for events and absorb most of the cost of staffing and transportation. Financial brackets and military discounts will apply in most events.

If you have questions about your child’s eligibility, please call or email us. Register Here

FAMILY FUN DAYS

FACT hosts five seasonal celebrations during the traditional school year called “Family Fun Days.” These events offer great opportunities for parents to network while children with ASD and their siblings play in a safe and supportive environment.

Family Fun Days generally follow seasonal themes (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.) and always feature games, prizes, crafts, birthday celebrations, and more. Most activities are geared toward school-aged children, but people of all ages and ability levels are welcome. Concessions are also available for a nominal fee. There are no entry fees or registration required.

Please note that an adult must accompany students with ASD for these events.

Adult and student volunteers register here

SPORTS PROGRAMS

Sports are an excellent way to develop and reinforce communication and social skills.

These activities also expand recreation options, increase endurance, and improve self-esteem. Athletes of any ability level are welcome to join any of our sports programs.
Students who can follow simple directions and imitate actions are the most successful. We have two experienced coaches and plenty of peer volunteers who aim to model skills and encourage people to participate. Adult supervision is limited, and caregivers are required to stay on-site during instruction.
Team sports are typically eight-week sessions that meet once a week and are in session throughout the school year. FACT offers co-ed kickball, basketball, and soccer, and bowling to individuals ages 6 and older.

Adult and student volunteers are needed. Contact us to learn more.

Athletes with ASD, adult and student volunteers Register Here

LEISURE PROGRAMS

Not every child enjoys physical activity, so FACT offers a variety of programs designed to broaden leisure skills. Leisure skills programs are typically eight-week sessions that meet once a week. Criteria and ages vary by program.

PERFORMING ARTS

Enable individuals to work collaboratively toward a performance, which fosters teamwork and enhances relationships. Best of all, performing instills confidence and bolsters self-esteem.

FINE ARTS

Programs offer a creative outlet for individuals with autism to express themselves. When communication through words is difficult or even impossible, art can connect people more deeply to the world around them.

LIFE SKILLS

FACT is continuously introducing new programs, including cooking, gardening, book club, and more to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families in our community.

Participants with ASD, Adult and student volunteers register here

FINANCIAL AID PROVIDED BY GOOD SAMARITANS

Registration fees for all of our camps and programs only subsidize 50% of the actual cost for staffing, activities, transportation, materials, and administration. FACT contributes the balance of the cost through grants, donations, fundraisers. The following financial assistance is available for all camps and most programs:

Financial Need-Based Scholarship

A discount of 50% is available to any student who qualifies for free or reduced lunch in the public school system, with documentation from the school. Documentation must be submitted with payment for discounts to be applied. Note that homeschoolers may provide a statement of need in lieu of school documents.

Military Dependents Scholarship

We offer a 25% discount per week for as many sessions as needed. Only military dependents are eligible for this scholarship.

Sibling Scholarship

Families with more than one child enrolled in our camp receive a 25% discount per child for as many weeks as they attend.

Emma Dickerson Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is offered to teens whose family has undergone hardships.

Jack and Anne Glenn Scholarships

We provided families with financial need—thanks to the generous gifts of the Glenn Foundation.

Francis Tom Memorial Scholarship

FACT honors the memory of Francis Tom by providing scholarships to families with financial needs.

Jericho Jefferson Memorial Scholarship

In memory of a beloved family member, we offer a full one-week scholarship for an adult (18 and above) participant whose family is facing monetary issues.