Skip to content

Outdoor Activities for Autistic Youth

Children suffering from autism tend to live isolated in their own world. After years spent in special education institutions, their transition to adult life presents enormous challenges. Yet, there is no organization or framework in Israel today to assist young autistic people during this critical step.
At Green Horizons we are convinced that outdoor activities can significantly contribute to autistic teenagers’ independence and help them cope with daily life. In 2006 we initiated a unique program for autistic youth aged 17 – 20. The groups are facilitated by specially-trained guides, together with additional assistants. The activities– similar those performed by the regular Green Horizon groups – include weekly gatherings and an overnight hike each month.

The program gives autistic teenagers a whole series of new experiences outside their daily routine. At the outset, the activities can be met with concern and even fear - fear of the outdoors, the intimacy of the group, public transportation, mud, fire, rocks and more. The practicing of skills such as lightning matches, riding on a bus, reading the map or climbing a rock gradually enables the teenagers to overcome their fears, gain confidence and participate in overnight hikes with their group.
In addition to this, the activities offer autistic teenagers alternative ways to interact with others and with nature, notwithstanding their difficulties with verbal and interpersonal communication. It greatly helps them to develop their personalities and increase their independence in daily life.
Today, Green Horizons runs six groups for autistic teenagers in several parts of the country and they have been remarkably successful. Together with the participants and their parents, we want to express our deepest thanks to the JNF for generously supporting this one-of-a-kind program. Due to the professionalism required, costs are high and we currently can’t admit all the teenagers that would like to join. We hope that with the help of our contributors, we will be able to extend this opportunity to even more autistic youth in Israel in the future.


Click here to contribute.