Making It Happen: Becky Large and CAN

Autism SocietyBecky Large moved with her family to the Grand Strand from New Jersey and was looking for services for her 12 year old son, who is on the autism spectrum. Not finding what she needed, she created programs that would fit her family’s needs as well as those of the community. Lange formed CAN, brought the concept of sensory friendly movies to Market Common and was instrumental in working with the township of Surfside to be declared autism friendly.

GSH: “What is CAN?”

BL: “CAN stands for the Champion Autism Network, reducing challenges and barriers to families with a child with Autism. CAN was a group started to help families with children on The Spectrum develop a network of like-minded people and supports in the Myrtle Beach area and beyond.”

GSH: “What motivated you to start it?”

Ripley's Aquarium

sensory friendly day at Ripley’s Aquarium

BL: “After relocating from NJ, I quickly realized there were few services for those with children with Autism in Horry County. I initially worked with the Lowcountry Autism Foundation in Charleston to try to provide more support for families in my area. I started the sensory friendly movies to provide my families with a “traditional” family experience and an opportunity to leave the house in a non-judgmental environment where everyone “gets it.” The response was overwhelming and the parents kept asking “what else is there?” Propelled by them, I wrote a grant with SOS Healthcare, Inc. and was awarded funds to start the Autism Community Education, or ACE, Program, training area businesses, restaurants and venues in the sensory needs of children with Autism in Horry County.

GSH: “Tell us about the initiative to make the town of Surfside Autism friendly.”

BL: “Throughout this time, it seemed logical to me that our area could easily become an Autism Friendly Travel Destination and Surfside Beach was the perfect place to start, it being The Family Beach and all. The idea took hold with the Surfside Beach Business Committee and was unanimously voted into being by Town Council on January 12.”

GSH: “Tell us about the concept behind sensory friendly movies?”

BL: “Children with Autism have sensory issues and can become overstimulated by their surroundings. For many children on The Spectrum the movies are too dark, too loud and too long for them to sit through. Sensory Friendly movies have the lights up, the sound down and the children are free to move around. Definitely not your traditional movie viewing experience but wonderful for the kids and families. It has become therapeutic for kids and families; the children have learned to sit through a movie and the parents can socialize, share their experiences and ask questions of the other parents. Very cool!”

GSH: “What drives you?”

BL: “Educating and creating Autism Awareness. Reducing barriers for families with children on The Spectrum so they can have traditional family experiences and outings–like going to the movies, out to a restaurant or take a vacation. Helping increase opportunity and business for the area I now call home.”

GSH: “How do you keep those people around you as motivated as you are?”

BL: “It’s easy, lead with love. The response has been overwhelming and many people are reaching out asking how they can help. I just have to get organized and let them know.”

GSH: “What else would you like to do?”

BL: “Not in any particular order: I would love to help other towns and cities with similar initiatives. I would like to have more programs here. I would like to have something sensory/Autism friendly every day of the week in this area. And somehow figure out how to make a living doing it.”

GSH: “Do you feel the community has been receptive?”

BL: “Absolutely! This wouldn’t have happened without the community’s support. :-)”

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2016-01-27T16:26:19+00:00 January 18th, 2016|