Unique programs help children with autism

SOS Healthcare is a nonprofit organization that aids children with autism and their families. Since autism is a complicated diagnoses, and there is no primary medicinal cure, the group is making efforts to do what they can to help autistic children succeed.

One way they've done that is by creating the SOUL Program and the 'Making Change Consignment Store'.

Diane Owens is the program manager of SOUL, which stands for 'Skills of Understanding Life'.

"It's important because as most people know, autism just keeps increasing," said Owens.

The SOUL Program teaches kids how to socialize, and the consignment store allows them to practice what they've learned.

Denise Garvey's son Kyle, 21, was born with autism. She said he's learned a lot through the SOUL Program and working at the consignment store.

"Now, he's here three days a week. He looks forward to coming. He gets his uniform on, he gets his lunch ready, he seems to enjoy it. They have him learning the register, greeting customers; he never would have done that stuff before SOUL or the store," said Garvey.

The women say without the SOUL Program and the consignment store, many children with autism in Horry County wouldn't be as well off.

The high demand made Owens want to open up the SOUL Program in Georgetown County.

"Under our grant we are required to have ten kids there, but last night we had 12," said Owens, who expects to only get more children.

The program serves children ages 8 to 18. It costs $20 a month to be apart of the program. The group meets once a week.

"It's our jobs as parents, whether they're special needs or not, to make them as independent as we possibly can. This is a part of making our kids independent," said Garvey.

For more information on the SOUL Program, click here.ã??