Camp Smiles to host town hall on autism, special needs

By Angie Barmer

Camp Smiles will be hosting a town hall meeting and symposium on Children’s Educational Challenges series.

Camp Smiles is a part of the SMILE (Serving Mentoring Inspiring Loving Encouraging) initiative, which is a special project under the CREATE Foundation.

At this event, speakers will talk about autism and other special needs. Twila Goolsby from Ripley will talk about dyslexia and other educational challenges, Kelly Coltharp will talk about special needs in the New Albany School District, there will be a speaker on autism through Excel By 5, and someone from First Steps, a state-funded early intervention program from birth to 3 years old, will also speak.

Excel By 5 is an early childhood community certification process focusing on young children.  It emphasizes the important roles parents and early 
childhood educators play in the lives of children during their most formative years of birth to age 5.

The New Albany-Union County Excel By 5 Family Resource Center is located on the New Albany campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College and is open from 4-6 p.m. on most Mondays and Thursdays.

The Family Resource Center has an inventory of learning aids, books, and educational resources that may be checked out by parents, grandparents, educators, and childcare providers.

First Steps EIP is a program that matches the unique needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays, or a birth condition that could cause a developmental delay, with Early Intervention services and resources within the community.

There will also be booths set up that will provide information, including information on 504 options, to parents and educators.

The symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 26 at First United Methodist Church. Speakers will talk about autism and other special needs. There will be free breakfast, free lunch, free childcare, and door prizes. The partners for this event are the Pilot Club of New Albany, Excel By 5, and New Albany City Schools.

For more information, contact Bailey King at 662-266-3000.