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Rachel's Story

Having a place she and her friends can call their own is what sports enthusiast Rachel Cohen seeks most

Rachel Cohen is a player. Whether its team sports, board games, swimming or video gaming, her sense of competition is deep seated and her enthusiasm for any of these is obvious, beyond the table full of medals in front of her.

A 25-year-old with Asperger syndrome, Rachel connected with the Special Olympics through her Geneva Centre Community Options Facilitator three years ago and now, when she’s not doing temp work at a law firm or developing skills with Booth Industries, her schedule is jammed connecting with friends in baseball league, swim meets and floor hockey.

An Adult Social Club
But there’s one thing she almost always makes time for and that’s Geneva Centre for Autism’s social club offered through the Choices for Adult Living Program. Without it, she says, her life might have been quite different.  “I’d be alone,” she comments.

Her involvement with social club and with the Special Olympics has helped her form a network of friends, many of whom she sees on a regular basis at weekly meetings.  “We had a place and now they have kids using it. It was great, we had couches, and stuff for our games, a place to put up art work,” she says.

Boardrooms not meant for fun with friends
Adult clients who access Geneva Centre for Autism services increasingly find themselves having to make do with limited storage space for program supplies and rooms designed for group meetings not for developing friendships.  

An adult-focused centre is something Rachel is keen to discuss. She wants a place where a group can sit comfortably to watch DVDs, play video games, put up their own art work and store their own games.

“We need a place that’s like a clubhouse, instead of just a crowded meeting room,” she says, adding that she is partial to smaller groups and prefers the intimate surroundings a lounge might offer.

As plans develop to build an adult centre, clients like Rachel Cohen eagerly await the opening day ceremony.