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For Immediate Release

Getting Social in the E.M.P.O.W.E.R. After School Program

Easterseals UCP Helps Children with Autism Learn Social Skills

Elizabeth City, NC, April 16, 2018

Socializing doesn’t come easy for some.However, many children and adults with autism have even a more difficult time making friends and socializing.


A young boy enrolled in the Easterseals UCP E.M.P.OW.E.R. After School Program in Elizabeth City, North Carolina took some big steps towards being more social. E.M.P.O.W.E.R. stands for Engaging and Motivating People through Opportunities in Wellness, Education, and Recreation.

When Sean, who is ten years old, started in the after school program in the fall he was shy and kept to himself.After months of exploring and encouragement from the Easterseals UCP staff, Sean came out of his shell little by little. At first, he gathered his own supplies, made activity choices and asked questions about the other kids.

Just recently, Sean joined the daily circle of friends and introduced himself.  “It is amazing to see his sense of belonging, comfort, and confidence grow every day,” said Jennifer Scialdone, Easterseals UCP E.M.P.O.W.E.R. Site Director in Elizabeth City. 

With the incidence rate more than doubling in the last decade, autism is now the fastest growing developmental disability. North Carolina has the second highest prevalence rate in the U.S., that's 1 in 58 children in NC who have autism. Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh are in the nation's top 20 cities with autism prevalence. Nationally, 1 in 68 children has autism, according to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention

EMPOWERAutism is a lifelong, complex spectrum of neurobiological developmental disorders. It affects how the brain processes information and learns. While autism has no defined cause and no known cure, there is help and hope. 

At Easterseals UCP, Autism Services continues to grow to help children, teens and their families manage behaviors, learn, and develop independent living skills. With centers currently in Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington, North Carolina, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) use an evidence-based approach, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), to break down skills into small steps to help gain and improve on skills including communication, social, play, and daily living. Autism Services at Easterseals UCP will continue to expand to other cities to help as many families as possible. 

Throughout April, Autism Acceptance Month, Easterseals UCP will share tips, resources and stories of success. Learn more about Easterseals UCP Autism Services.

Easterseals UCP works side-by-side with adults and children who are managing disabilities and mental health challenges. We serve as a nurse, a therapist, a social worker, a job counselor, a teacher, a psychologist, a caregiver and a compassionate friend all rolled into one. Our purpose is to help neighbors in need achieve better days and live their best possible life.

Learn more about Easterseals UCP at www.eastersealsucp.com.

For more information contact:
Kathy Edgerton
Easterseals UCP Chief Communications Officer
(O) 919-865-8660
(C) 919-208-0621


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