HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Tens of thousands of Texas families have been uprooted and displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
They've been robbed of their everyday routines, and for some, the disruption is magnified, especially children with autism spectrum disorder.
Ashley Rose is sympthetic to their plight and is organizing a campaign to help.
She is executive director of Mission Cognition, 856 Route 206, a special education enrichment and training center that works with special needs children.
She is networked with over ten thousand professionals around the country who work with children with autism spectrum disorder; one of her colleagues is Christina Conner, who manages Paradigm Behavior, a center for special needs children in Houston.
"We're quite friendly, we talk a couple of times a week; I called her before the storm and told her 'I'm thinking of you and if you need anything, let me know.' ''
Conner didn't hesitate to reach out. She told Rose that she and her family fared pretty well, but that there are those who have not, and they need help.
"She is working with other clinics and centers to collect educational and therapeutic materials for special needs children who have been uprooted from their homes," Rose said. "This is a challenging time for any child affected, but as you can imagine the challenges can be intensified for children who struggle with transitions and change."
Rose is asking for donations that will be collected beginning Thursday, Sept. 7 through Saturday, Sept. 9. Volunteers are invited to come to her building on Saturday to help pack gallon plastic bags with the items which she will ship to her friend in Texas.
Parents have been coming in, asking 'What can we do, what do you need, what can we do to help,' '' Rose said.
The following is a list of needed items:
Gallon ziploc bags;⠀
Books - board books, early readers, craft and coloring books.
Crafts - crayon,s finger paint, glue sticks, kids' scissors, markers, paint brushes, stickers.
Sensory - headphones, light up spin wands, sand, sand containers, shaving cream, squish balls, weighted blankets.⠀⠀
Toys - bubbles, puzzles, play-doh, animals, block sets, magnetic squares, cars, fidgets, light-ups, musical toys, play sets.
Visual - dry erase markers, boards, laminating sheets, PECS basics, token boards, Velcro dots, white boards.
Further information is available online at https://www.facebook.com/missioncognition/posts/1514726725251538 or by calling (908) 625-0750.