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A New Center for Teens and Adults With Autism

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 10:58
Scott Johnson, executive director of Southampton Youth Services, and Kim Covell, founder of the Flying Point Foundation for Autism, have signed a lease agreement allowing the foundation to set up a community center for teens and young adults with autism.
Flying Point Foundation

It was a moment six years in the making: Kim Covell, founder of the Flying Point Foundation for Autism, has signed a lease with Southampton Youth Services to establish a community center for teens and young adults with autism, the organization announced on Jan. 24.

To be located within 1,500 square feet of the existing S.Y.S. building on Majors Path in North Sea, The Point, as it will be called, has a target opening date of mid-March.

“In the world of developmental disabilities, when a person ages out of the educational system, typically at age 21, it is called ‘falling off the cliff,’ “ the Flying Point Foundation said in an announcement. “After many years of a supported program,” the organization said, families of young adults with autism are then “left floundering in search of appropriate programs, especially when it comes to social and recreational opportunities.”

The Point will serve that need, Ms. Covell said this week. “This project really grew from the fact that when we originally started, we were doing programs for school-age kids, like summer camp and recreational programs,” she said. “Since we started in 2010, those kids have grown up and have aged out or are aging out of the school system.”

Much of what the foundation does is rooted in Ms. Covell’s own family experiences with an adult son on the autism spectrum.

Working on a membership basis, the new facility will provide “opportunities for its members to engage in social and recreational activities together, pursue good health through fitness programs including yoga, plus nurture life skills through various projects, all in an environment that provides support and is connected to a vibrant recreational center and all its members,” the announcement said.

It will include a full kitchen with a large multipurpose table for projects, meetings, and social events, plus smaller tables for eating snacks; a lounge area with a TV, modular sofa, and oversize bean-bag chairs, and a quiet space with an “egg chair” designed to muffle sounds for those with sensory needs. Future plans include a garden, Special Olympics training, and programming for children in addition to young adults.

“I love that it’s a vibrant fitness community and gathering place for so many members of the Southampton community,” Ms. Covell said. “That fits within our goal of providing social and recreational programs and being front and center in the community. . . . We’re a part of something larger, and I think that’s a win-win for everyone.”

Scott Johnson, executive director of S.Y.S., said he hopes The Point can be a long-term home for the foundation’s programs and services.

“I think it’s going to be a terrific relationship,” he said. “This helps us fulfill our mission of making this a community center for people of all abilities.”


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