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School of Education’s Autism Center Hosts Fun-Filled Summer Camp

Saint Louis University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Autism Services hosted children with neurodevelopmental delays in June. Campers participated in a variety of fun activities, with the weeklong camp kicking off with a scavenger hunt for penguins scattered around SLU’s campus. 

After learning about the environment and survival skills of the species, each camper built a habitat for their individual penguins.

Two campers pour ingredients into a paper cup while standing next to a table during an activity.
Campers at the Autism Center's summer camp.

Campers also participated in daily morning sensory experiments using slime, Floam, Jell-O, and elephant toothpaste led by SLU’s occupational therapy students Mira Todd and Emily Schwab. Each experiment required campers to follow multiple-step directions and work together to obtain the correct results.

Special presentations included SLU’s Department of Public Safety officers who joined the campers and shared information about bike safety and the importance of wearing helmets. Kristin Wilmes, a pediatric nurse at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, also shared information with the campers related to understanding a visit to the doctor or hospital, as well as information about water safety. 

Campers enjoyed outdoor activities throughout the week that promoted socialization between peers and enhanced their communication skills while engaging in physical activities. The LEGO-themed bounce house was a huge hit, ending a week of friendship and fun.

The autism camp was led by Diane Richter, Ph.D., director of the autism center and Sarah Zimmerman, O.T.D., OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy, and occupational therapy students Mira Todd and Emily Schwab.

Through an interdisciplinary approach, SLU’s autism center brings together the expertise of multiple departments and programs including psychology; speech, language, and hearing sciences; special education; social work; behavior analysis; occupational therapy; and physical therapy to provide high-quality assessments for families in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

For more information about the Interdisciplinary Center for Autism Services, please visit the website or contact Diane Richter, Ph.D. at