04/28/05 — Kidz Dayz will provide programs for children with special needs

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Kidz Dayz will provide programs for children with special needs

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 28, 2005 1:46 PM

When school gets out for the summer, many parents scurry to find fun camps and programs to engage and entertain their children.

But for parents of children with special needs -- developmentally delayed, autistic or those who require speech, occupational or physical therapy -- the options are more limited. That's why Kidz Dayz was launched.

Marjorie Pate, treasurer of the board of directors, recalls the pilot program that began in the summer of 2001. She said it was initially started for autistic children and their siblings.

"There was a mother who was taking her autistic child to Greenville every day during the summer for a program," she said. "There was no program for these special needs children by the school system during the summer months, and we started talking about the importance of having one in Goldsboro."

The school system typically offers individual education plans for children in these categories, Ms. Pate said. But when classes breaks for the summer and the children are displaced from the usual structure, it can create a problem.

"It is very difficult for these families to take a child to a regular day care program," she said, "so we decided to get one going."

The program has grown in numbers as it has expanded to serve children from 3 to 16 years of age. Certified teachers and assistants lead the classes, with high school and college volunteers as support staff.

At present, Ms. Pate said, there are three classes in the summer program, with 10 students in each. The ratio is three or four adults working with every 10 students.

Application for enrollment has already begun, but there are a few slots left for this year's program, which begins June 6. The nine-week program is held Monday through Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Kidz Dayz is considered a not-for-profit organization, Ms. Pate said, relying on financial donations and help from volunteers. There is a nominal charge to families, she said, depending on each year's donations.

For more information about the program, call 739-0047.