‘Phoenix is a great place to live if you are impacted by autism': Couple makes life easier

'Phoenix is a great place to live if you are impacted by autism': Couple makes life easier

It's always a parent's hope that their child enjoys themselves and has the best possible life experience.

Especially if you have a child with autism.

"Phoenix is a great place to live if you are impacted by autism," said Adam Isaacs, CEO and owner of a local program called Partners to Assist in Learning (PAL).

Adam and his wife Melanie Isaacs quit their jobs and created PAL, which is aimed towards individuals with disabilities.

"There are literally families moving here (to Phoenix) from all over the world because of the resources that are available," said Adam.

The program is specifically aimed for children with autism to help them engage better with different venues in the community.

It all started when Melanie encountered a 10-year-old boy with autism while she working for an aquarium. She had asked the boy and his father if they like visiting the aquarium.

"His dad quickly said 'We can't go to the aquarium -- my son has autism," said Melanie.

It was heartbreaking, so Melanie and Adam went on their journey to make things change for kids with autism.

"Anybody who has access to the internet can watch our videos, use our tools, get the insights that they need to prepare and then go to one of these venues," said Adam.

The program is a video tour of a given venue that shows what families can expect if they have a child with autism or a related developmental disability.

"You can learn more about the venue with our insider’s tips, like 'When are good times to go?', a time that the venue might not be as crowded," Melanie said, "information like, 'Will there be security?'"

It's simple. Families or individuals who are non-verbal can use picture exchange communication provided by the site.

"So if they need something like popcorn, they can touch an icon that says they want a snack," said Melanie.

Every video tour and tool used in the program has been analyzed by a certified behavioral therapist.

"These are evidence-based best practices that help folks feel more prepared and confident in new activities," said Melanie.

Now, PAL is only available in locations that have teamed up with the programs, but partners include the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Phoenix Mercury, and a local dance studio.

Melanie and Adam said the program is slowly expanding to restaurants, health care providers and grocery stores.

To learn more about the program, go to palexperiences.org.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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