Organizations ‘UNITE’ to show support for special needs

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A couple of Jefferson Elementary students were selling bracelets in LeBauer Park, while their peers were dancing, running around and playing on the first Sunday of April.

But Heather Duncan and her classmates were trying to raise money for those who may not be able to run or dance.

They're putting money to build a universal playground, giving more access for students in walkers or wheelchairs to really appreciate recess.

"It's unfair because like some kids in our school, they say that they don't want to go outside for recess because they can't play on the playground," Duncan said.

That was the spirit for more than 20 organizations at the park on World Autism Awareness Day, doing what they can to help children with special needs.

"Show the community what we're about. What kind of programs and services we have to offer," said Sarah Pritchard with Family Support Network of Central Carolina.

All these organizations were out as an effort called UNITE Greensboro. It stands for Understanding Needs of Individuals Takes Everyone.

Therapy dogs, drums and horse groups were available for parents to check out, along with crafts like wind chimes made by special needs artists.

Other resources available for parents are things like summer camps hosted by the folks at Senses Therapies starting this June.

"Use children as a model for other children, because that's really how kids learn is through play with others," said Jenny Gandee.

So no matter where kids play, be it on a new playground, or in the woods, they're picking up on the message of inclusion: making so no one is left out.