July 2, 2015
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to you regarding the Mechanicsburg Awareness Speedway Slot Car Club. I am the Clinical Director of the NHS Autism School in Carlisle and an Autism Society of Harrisburg Board member and have current and graduated students who attend this wonderful, one of a kind, program. As a member of the community who is always looking to find or start up social and community events for our individuals on the autism spectrum, I find that there are very limited opportunities for our individuals to be meaningfully involved. The Awareness Speedway is one of these opportunities that is consistently available.
Their mission is to help intellectually disabled, medically challenged and special needs adults and children to offer both therapeutic and behavioral benefits while having fun is what is needed for this population. Awareness Speedway offers certificates for achievement and a newsletter that also highlight’s participant’s achievements which bolsters their self esteem. The participants learn about healthy competition, learn about themselves and helps them to strive to beat personal best. Due to the demands of the activity, they also learn to compensate for car differences, controller differences and voltage differences. One of my favorite aspects of the program is that the participants mentor each other.
Individuals on the autism spectrum have difficulties with communication, socialization and behavioral regulation. All of these skills are all strengthen within this program. The racing events are great opportunities to have great conversations about current events, food, TV and racing. Individuals on the spectrum typically have high levels of social anxiety, which through repeated exposure to each other, lessens their anxiety making it easier for them to communicate and socialize. Talking with adult members, they love and look forward to these events and are building friendships that they would not have otherwise.
This organization has an active presence within our community, spreading awareness through attendance at local fairs, networking and social media.
I endorse this program and hope it continues to grow and prosper adding more members and continuing to provide a wonderful social outlet to members of our community!
Delilah Wilcox, MS, BCBA
NHS Autism School Carlisle
April 7, 2015
Mr. Rodney Stuber
Autism Awareness Speedway Slot Car Club
5995 Eberly Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Dear Mr. Stuber,
I was informed recently by one of the house managers from one of our group homes that you were hoping to relocate your slot car club to a fully handicapped-accessible location. It is my understanding that one of the main reasons for your wanting to keep your car club going is to increase public awareness of autism and other intellectual & developmental disabilities (IDD). As someone who is dedicated to helping people with IDD live as normal and independent lives as possible, I fully support and back you on your endeavor to keep this charity non-profit going.
If only more people could see how important it is to our special needs population, their families and those who care for them to have opportunities such as yours to truly feel that they are capable of achievement and normalization within our society, there would be no question that your slot car club is an important part of our community. It is people like yourself and charities such as yours that add value to our culture and society as a whole. Not only does your slot car club provide a time and place for enjoyment, it teaches qualities such as acceptance and belonging.
I respectfully implore anyone who has a say in this decision-making process to consider these points and to make it possible for you to continue to serve our community. I welcome any further correspondence from you or anyone else in my support, and I wish you the very, very best.
Community Home Services Program Manager
United Cerebral Palsy, Central Pennsylvania
1111 Doubling Gap Road
Newville, PA 1 7241
April 15, 2015
To Whom It May Concern:
Working more than six years as a Special Education Aide for the Big Spring School District in Newville, PA and part time for eight -years in the Smithtown School District in Smithtown, NY, I have had the opportunity to work with children who were Autistic, Learning Disabled, and intellectually and physically impaired. One thing they all had in common was to find enjoyment and fun working with hands on play and coming together with other students with similar interests besides their disabilities. These children always looked forward to field trips that included hayrides, bus tours through animal parks with petting zoos and farms with ball toss, corn boxes, slides and bowling alleys.
Rodney and Cherie of Awareness Speedway Slot Car Club, Inc. have discovered a new area of play for all of these special children and young adults. These children and young adults will benefit through eye hand coordination, motorization skills and cognitive learning. Their racetrack allows everyone to have a sense of control as well as fun. Behavioral benefits, such as socialization skills and feeling safe in a group setting helps them grow into adults in our society. Here is where they can find a sense of competition creating good attitudes within this group setting. They get a chance to interact and to play with others with a chance to share in a group action for enjoyment and a true sense of self.
It has been my experience working in such group activities with these extraordinary special needs children that they do better interacting with their peers and gaining a better sense of who they are. This racetrack is a wonderful experience waiting to happen to so many, young and old alike.
Mr. Rodney Stuber
Awareness Slot Car Club
5995 Eberly Drive
Mechanicsburg PA 17050-2045
Dear Mr. Stuber:
It was such a happy day when we were introduced to your program. The four gentlemen of Lisburn Group Home all have serious handicaps that prevent them from ever being able to make the split second decisions needed to drive a car and absorb the driving laws of the State of Pennsylvania. They are all very big NASCAR fans and have a driving passion to watch the races on television. Finding your program gives them an outlet for their dreams and is an empowerment for them. It was love at first green light with the GO! They get a tremendous amount of joy visiting your program as it makes them feel like they are driving.
The Lisburn Group Home used to be a co-ed facility in 2007 we switched to an all male facility. The gentlemen of Lisburn were used to being the alpha male and center of attention in their family homes. They had a tremendous amount of difficulty adapting to having to share the attention of staffing, waiting their turn, communicating without violence and socializing appropriately. Your program was a bonus that it allowed them an opportunity to be competitive with each other, it allowed someone to win, challenge and be aggressive in a healthy and acceptable manner. They felt just like their heroes of NASCAR.
Your program created social opportunities for them to be real men, just another guy racing against “normal” gentlemen such as yourself and my male staffing. You were all on even terms. It was an amazing opportunity in a world that focuses so much negative on disabilities. It gave them a chance to exercise their communication and socialization skills with a small group setting. They were still sharing with others, they practiced their manners, they had positive interaction and they had an opportunity to resolve some of their problems and conflicts and build problem-solving skills. Along with those skills, they also learned to develop a bond of trust and stability. These gentlemen come from a field where people go in and out their doors so frequently that they no sooner get attached than their staffing moves on. It is a difficult position for them and having the stability you and your wife provided was a huge emotional plus for them.
My gentleman who is legally blind in one eye and uses a walker was learning how to use his eye hand coordination to keep the car on the track and watch it as it flew around the turns. He was also working his gross and fine motor skills squeezing the trigger to propel and adjust the speed of the car. For my bi-polar gentleman it was an opportunity to learn about his feelings of excitement when the car is cruising along well, the frustration of having it fly off the track or lose speed and crash. He had a lot of exhilaration when he managed to race it faster than the other cars. He was learning to label his feelings, accept how they felt, and it was an opportunity to have a positive release of all those feelings he doesn’t truly understand. Just releasing the normal masculine tension is very helpful for him.
My gentlemen who has kinesthetic disorder was finding it acceptable to have to wait his turn, wait until the roadway was clear, accept when he could not be the number one driver, etc. My autistic gentleman was thrilled with spending time with you and your wife and bonding to your attention. You have both been so very gracious and kindhearted to him and that means more to him than every dollar he has in the world.
Your slot car racing is a terrific hobby and a phenomenal, exciting mix of a wide variety of recreational and leisure skill building for this group of gentlemen of assorted ages. The fact that you have worked so hard to keep it an inexpensive activity that they could afford was an amazing positive. It also helped them with working their financial skills as they paid for the time they used the track and adjusted their cash boxes here at the group home accordingly. Our group has hopes that as your facility expanded we will meet new people and be more involved as a community. We also hoped to eventually bring more of our UCP residents and friends to your racing club. It would give them more opportunities to make friends with the CPARC group that you had become involved with.
As the house manager I speak for my gentlemen when I say we hope this letter will help you with establishing your organization in our community
Ms Diane Hoy
UCP Lisburn Group Home Manager
I am a mother of a 21 year old son on the Autism Spectrum. Since
Matthew first saw the track, he has been excited to participate in the
The benefits for our son have helped him to be more engaged with others
peers. Since Matthew always has been more interested in communicating
with adults, having this interactive social activity encourages
communication with other young adults and teens. Also, since Matthew
likes to spend money and is very impulsive with anything to do with
purchasing, there is a wonderful incentive to purchase and earn the next
fastest car. This experience gives the opportunity to work toward a
goal of saving, delaying gratification, and working on money skills for
the goal to purchasing a 'faster' car.
Matthew's impulsiveness has benefited when needing to control the speed of
the vehicle especially around the corners. This has an immediate
consequence if he gets too fast with getting the car off the track, and
therefore delaying the process of racing. Learning to control impulse
with an immediate consequence is essential for learning. This also
provides the need for hand and eye coordination. The need to keep track
of your vehicle among the others on the track, being aware of how fast
the car is going in relation to the other vehicles also is imperative
for the racing environment.
We are so thankful for this opportunity to assist Matthew in his learning maturity process.