Inclusion Based Afterschool Enrichment Program for Children with Autism

Autism Charlotte (AC) is proud of its partnership with the Greater YMCA of Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) System to provide Charlotte’s only inclusion-based afterschool enrichment program for children with autism.

Our afterschool program offers a balance of educational and recreational support while providing a safe, nurturing and enriching environment to meet each child’s unique needs. We are able to tailor the program for each child given the program’s ratio of 1 teacher to every 3 participants.  The focus is on independent functional living skills and self-management skills.  Most importantly, the program is cost-effective and fun.

The benefits of this program reach well beyond the children and families dealing with autism. In pairing each affected child with both a typical peer and a high school volunteer, we facilitate opportunities to teach patience, acceptance and understanding. Ultimately, this program is about changing both the lives of those affected by autism and those who would not typically have this unique experience.

Did you know?

1 in 88 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Program Specifics

The Afterschool Enrichment program provides a safe, nurturing and enriching environment to meet the unique needs of children with autism. The program is offered to students Monday through Friday who are diagnosed as mild to moderate on the autism spectrum. Operational hours and grades served vary by location. See chart below:



Ages Served

5 yrs -  12 yrs

Siskey YMCA (Hemby Center)

2:15 - 6:15 pm

McCrorey YMCA

3:00 - 6:30 pm

5 yrs - 12 yrs

CMS (*)

2:30 - 6:00 pm

5 yrs - 12 yrs

Harris YMCA

2:30 - 6:30 pm

11 yrs - 15 yrs

(*) Currently offered at University Meadows Elementary School and Lebanon Road Elementary School.

Parents may choose the number of days in the week they wish for their child to attend. Opportunities to enhance independent, functional living and self-management skills, opportunities for socialization, communication and self-directed choice are present within each activity throughout the afternoon.  Approximately 25% of the kids receive scholarships to attend the program through our Financial Assistance Program.

Download Our Brochure!
Sample Daily Schedule

​Inclusion Opportunity

Reverse Inclusion for Snack

Homework Assistance

Structured Enrichment Activities

Inclusion Opportunity for All

Unique Program Characteristics

  • Balance of educational support and recreational activities, while providing a safe, nurturing and enriching environment to meet each child’s unique needs.
  • Tailored curriculum for each child given its ratio of 1 teacher to every 3 participants.
  • Focus on independent functional living skills and self-management skills.
  • Self-directed choice in a relaxing environment.
  • Cost-effective, therapeutic and fun

Our Staff

Lead Teachers

Assistant Teachers

Contact Information

Please contact us for more information (including employment opportunities).


Phone: 704-776-0685


Affected Parents

​"Our son loved being at afterschool. I think we see the best in him in your programs, staffed with people who are trained on his strengths and challenges and allow him to interact with other neurotypical kids. All I can say is we loved it so much we want more!"
– Steph, mother of a kindergartener

"We really do feel so fortunate to have our son a part of the inclusion program and also believe that the social progress he’s made this year is a direct result."
– Jana, mother of a 3rd grader


"I was very impressed with how well the peers worked with the autistic children—their love and empathy towards them revealed a maturity beyond their years. Not only that, but the whole environment at the afterschool program is so inspiring. After one day of volunteerism, I was in awe of the staff’s ability to work with these children and encourage them to reach their potential."

– Sarah - 10th Grade

"Volunteering at the afterschool program has successfully exposed me to autism. The one-on-one time with the kids has made me very comfortable with them and further illustrates the truth that inclusion works. I have learned a great deal from the volunteering in their afterschool program, but one of the biggest realizations was that autism truly is just another blessing from God."
– Daniel - 11th grade

"The Inclusion Based After School Program for Children with Autism has broadened my grasp on the facts of autism. The program is beneficial for everyone involved. The kids truly depend on it; the dependable schedule, the tender volunteers and the playful camaraderie which they can enjoy everyday."
– Eliza - 11th grade

Peer Parents

"Through the program, Bridget has gained a sense of responsibility with learning to help others. Her leadership qualities have increased along with her confidence. She wants to continue staying in the program since she has developed friendships."

– Bridget’s Mom (Bridget is a 3rd grader)​​​​​​​​

"This program has opened Riley’s eyes and she really wants to be here. It has taught her patience, and she loves it. I’d love my younger daughter to participate, too!"
– Riley’s Mom (Riley is a 4th grader)

"Madison loves the program and has even said that she wants to teach autism when she grows up."
– Madison’s Mom (Madison is a 3rd grader)