A well-known home goods giant is helping to provide a welcoming environment for autistic children to create meaningful art.
Home Depot stores in certain locations offer free monthly workshops for child and family crafting. The first of these workshops in the Plano, Texas store was offered on Saturday, December 13. The children attending painted holiday decorations with their families.
This workshop was arranged through the work of Hunter’s Autism Specials, which is a Dallas-based organization that provides products and services to businesses and families who would like to assist those affected by autism.
Designed for children ages 5-12, the classes provide the kids with an orange apron and a crafting kit for a project that can be taken home. The Home Depot site states that they “teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety and at the same time they help to instill a sense of accomplishment.”
These projects are helpful for children on the autistic spectrum because they foster a sense of independence, which can be difficult for them. In addition to building skills, the children get to spend quality time with loved ones while they build something new. Plus, they must work to see a task to completion, which is a good exercise for children who struggle with short attention spans.
Leslie Griggs, contributor to the Special Needs Insider blog via Dallas News, said of the workshop, “The event is open to children with autism and siblings so my husband took our son Jack, age 6, and daughter Peyton, age 3. The kids had fun and Jack, who has a difficult time following directions and completing tasks, got to experience something new.”
The crafting workshops also take place in Louisville, Kentucky. A mother named Debbie commented on Home Depot’s blog, stating “Our 9 year old has mild Autism and he especially enjoys the projects. The staff is always friendly and [they] encourage the children one on one. I would like to thank Home Depot for offering a positive influence for our area children and grandchildren.”
These workshops are available on the first Saturday of each month at various locations. Families may register in advance. Workshops typically last about 3 hours, taking place in the morning. Check with your local Home Depot to find out if these classes are offered near you. Note that not all of the workshops are designed to be specifically “autism-friendly”.