Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers, a leading provider in comprehensive autism therapy services, is partnering with Special Olympics Indiana for the second year to host an event for patients and their families at Indiana Hopebridge centers. Reaching more than 200 patients, this event underscores a shared commitment to promoting inclusivity and empowerment within the autism community.

Throughout June, Hopebridge and Special Olympics Indiana will expand on last year’s events to reach four Indiana Hopebridge centers: Evansville, Richmond, Valparaiso and Carmel. The event will feature a series of obstacle courses, sensory games and other activities designed to provide a stimulating and supportive environment for the children to engage in physical activity and develop new skills. Last year’s partnership garnered an attendance of more than 60 families, each given the opportunity to share a day of fitness and fun while celebrating the abilities of their children. This year, Hopebridge and Special Olympics Indiana plan to extend this opportunity to more families across the state.

Jeff Mohler, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana, expressed his enthusiasm for this partnership during a season of anticipation for the Summer Olympic Games.

“Special Olympics Indiana works toward using sports and wellness as a catalyst for social change,” Mohler said. “We are dedicated to creating inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities that encourage physical fitness, empowerment and joy. As anticipation builds for the Summer Olympics, we are eager to extend our mission to children at Hopebridge centers while also sharing the excitement for the upcoming games.”

The Special Olympics course is tailored to accommodate the needs and abilities of children with autism. The course incorporates components of occupational therapy used to support individuals with autism, such as sensory integration and motor development, and provides participants with opportunities for skill enhancement. Through these carefully curated challenges, the event aims to foster peer collaboration, physical fitness, and confidence building. Completing challenges will be met with celebration from volunteers and family members to cultivate a sense of empowerment, and siblings of the children are invited to complete the course alongside them to encourage teamwork.

Jana Sarno, chief clinical officer at Hopebridge, emphasizes the impact of this event on furthering the shared mission of Hopebridge and Special Olympics Indiana.

“This partnership serves to empower individuals with autism and foster the culture of support and positivity within the Hopebridge community,” Sarno said. “Therapeutic activities like these play a vital role in helping children with autism develop essential life skills and promote well-being. By incorporating these activities into a day of fun for both our patients and their families, we can further the goal of enhancing the quality of lives of children with autism and bring joy to our community.”

This partnership combines the mutual efforts of Hopebridge and Special Olympics Indiana to cultivate empowerment, inclusivity and well-being of individuals with autism. Hopebridge is excited to have Special Olympics join its many community partners as they continue to hold events like these in 12 states.