Children eat up ice cream social fun

His Nike shoes snugly tied and the football tucked under his arm, Mason Cassidy held tight, dodging other players as he made a go for it.
Jessica Cuffman
Aug 19, 2013

The 3-year-old just might be a running back some day. But on Friday, he was content to collapse in a heap of giggles when he stumbled during a pickup game at Battery Park. He was one of about 35 children whose parents signed them up for an ice cream social, part of the Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities early intervention program.

The programs provide aid to children 3 and younger diagnosed with a symptom affecting their development, to help the children socialize and become accustomed to everyday life. Mason, his brothers and sister came to be part of Friday’s gathering, brought by their dad, Sean Cassidy, of Sandusky, who has taken Mason to a few similar events during the past few years. “He always has a blast,” Sean said. “It’s great for the kids to interact. They have fun, they’re social.”

Jessica Hayes, occupational therapist for the board, said Friday’s event was a chance for the children to socialize and be around other children their own age. There wasn’t much interest in the ice cream at first — the toys, brought to the picnic by the board and slated to be sent home with children and their families, captured most of the attention the first half hour.

The gathering was also a chance for many of the children to try something new. “Some of them have never tried ice cream before,” Hayes said.