By Patrick Lacombe, The Belton Journal
Children with special needs from all over Central Texas enjoyed fun in the sun at The Children’s Special Needs Network “Play Day” held at Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children on Hwy 2484 in Killeen.
The Play Day was held last Saturday, and the weather could not have been better with the temps in the high 70s and a brisk breeze blowing, allowing kids with special needs of all ages to play games, hop on motorcycles or play in the bounce house. Others opted to stay indoors, where they ate or were entertained with arts and crafts. Family friendly movies were also shown if the kids tired of outdoor activities.
“This is a day that we have once a year where kids with special needs can enjoy good family fun and don’t have to worry about someone giving them a strange look if they act up,” CSNN Project Coordinator Megan Daniels said. “We also host a lot of recreational events year round that are family friendly and we have sensory friendly movies for the kids where we turn the sound down a bit and keep some lights on for the kids that don’t like darkness or loud sounds.”
Daniels mentioned that all of their activities are posted on the CSNN Facebook page and urge parents to LIKE the page to keep up with their schedule of events.
Two local motorcycle groups, The Ft. Hood chapter of the Green Knights and the Harley Owners Group from Killeen, were present. The two groups had their motorcycles lined up and helped children who wanted to see what it’s like to sit on the bike and rev the engine or honk the horns.
Students from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor also volunteered with games and crafts.
Charlotte Webb of Copperas Cove was there with her 7-year-old son Thomas.
“Thomas loves to come to these events,” Webb said. “He’s able to be around children who won’t make fun of him and they actually play together. It’s amazing how cruel some people can be at a public park when a special needs child wants to join in on the fun. I’ve had some parents grab their kids away from Thomas and leave.”
The Children’s Special Needs Network (CSNN) is a non-profit organization based in Belton that assists families and professionals in providing services for children in Central Texas who are diagnosed with physical or psychological special needs.
CSNN provides a wide range of direct services and connects families with medical, educational, and social service resources in their communities. It also serves as a conduit, advocating on behalf of children in need and calling on churches, health care providers, schools, and others to rally around some of the most needy members of our Central Texas communities.
The charitable organization was formed in 1990 to provide needed services to children regardless of diagnosis, condition, age, income, or residence.
Since the Fall of 2000, CSNN has received a grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services providing funds for the Executive Director and Outreach Coordinator for the Network to coordinate the activities and services provided. The Children’s Special Needs Network is able to use almost all donations for direct services for families of children with special needs.
CSNN is located at 204 North East Street Suite F in Belton, and their phone number is (254) 933-7597.