Eagles Autism Foundation goes virtual, bringing family fun to community in quarantine

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Today would have been the day when thousands gathered at the starting line to bike, run, or walk for the Eagles Autism Challenge.

And although COVID-19 has postponed the event, it hasn't stopped the Eagles Autism Foundation from getting creative.

They decided to bring pivotal resources directly to the homes of those in the autism community.

By logging onto the Eagles Autism Foundation's Facebook page, families can engage in sensory activities with an excited young man named Max, who also has autism. Together with Kiki Saraceni, EAF's Administrator of Scientific Programs and Inclusion initiatives, they create simple DIY projects that anyone can do from home.

Additionally, EAF has partnered with SAP to broadcast discussions about working remotely during the pandemic, which includes perspectives of employed adults with autism.

It can be difficult for anyone with autism who is falling out of routines due to COVID-19. That's why EAF created "My Daily Schedule," where families can engage in rebuilding structure in their lives.

Nicole Bottino is especially thankful for these online resources. Her daughter, Dominique, is a 12-year-old with autism. Dominique's skills shine when the family participates in Sensory Saturday activities, such as creating "cloud dough" from hair conditioner.

These are only a handful of resources among the research projects and grants underway with the Eagles Autism Foundation. Notably, they created a sensory-inclusive room in Lincoln Financial Field so those with autism can enjoy live football games. They also created a junior cheer clinic alongside the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders, in which Dominique Bottino participated.

"When you watch our games, when you go to our stadium, you see autism in the endzone," says Ryan Hammond, Executive Director of the Eagles Autism Foundation.

Because of this goal in mind, first rooted by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, EAF has raised over $6,000,000 in the first two years.

To learn more about EAF's mission for the future, visit their website.

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