By Natasha Brown


RICHBORO, Pa. (CBS) – For more than a decade, a Bucks County couple has brought together hundreds of children with autism. We got a chance to see one of their events for children, as 6-year-old Caitlin Shannon and her cousin, Kyle, made a diorama using paint, paper, and Peeps.

“We are painting the sky blue,” Caitlin said. “Then we’re going to paint the grass, then we’re going to make the Peep characters.”

Across the room, Hoodson Hawkins carefully arranged Peeps on miniature mats.

“He is working on a yoga studio for Peeps,” Hoodson’s mother, Kelly Hood, said.

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This is Hangin’ With my Peeps, a kid-friendly evening event held by the Richboro-based Autism Cares Foundation.

Co-founder Linda Kuepper said, “It gets them out in the community. They can be accepted, people are understanding, and they’re loved.”

Kuepper and her husband, Frank, started the nonprofit foundation 12 years ago. One of their sons, Michael, is autistic. They saw the need for kids like him to make friends.

Frank said, “My own son, I couldn’t even take him to a Disney movie with typical people, because he has typical behaviors, might flap his hands, might shriek when he sees something funny.”

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So Frank and Laura started arranging activities, fun nights, even proms. The foundation now hosts about 200 events a year, serving an estimated 5,000 people.

Caitlin’s mother, Jen Brown, says this is a place her child can be herself. “It’s a judgment-free zone,” she said. “I can relax and they can relax and just be themselves.”

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Eventually the dioramas will be entered into a contest at Peddler’s Village. Whatever the results, the children have already enjoyed some sweet rewards!

The foundation has its annual gala on Saturday, April 27 in Ivyland. For more information on the gala, click here.