EAST PRAIRIE, MO (KFVS) - An East Prairie, Missouri student with autism is twisting balloons to raise money for an educational trip to Washington, D.C.
Clayton Dorris is 14 years old and in the 8th grade.
"It's just really fun twisting balloons.... I learned it from my from some of my favorite balloon animal twisters," Clayton said.
He has an opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and learn many things outside of the classroom that he may struggle with learning in the classroom. This trip would be the first time Clayton is without his parents.
Clayton's mother Sarah Dorris works at Doyle Elementary School, she said her son is raising money by twisting balloons for people, running raffle ticket donut fundraisers and doing chores to earn money.
Sarah said her son wants to go to D.C. because it's a big city and he wants to go see the Smithsonian Institution and Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument. She said the experience would help him beyond learning in the classroom.
"He depends on me for a lot and I really need to start preparing him for adulthood, he's 14, yes, and I know I have quite a few more years but this will take a while and I really want him to be on his own when he grows up," Sarah said. "It will give him an experience outside of the classroom that he can't get inside of a classroom and that is what every parent and teacher wishes for their kid."
One of Clayton's Special Education Teachers Whitney Choate encouraged his mother to make a gofundme page for him to raise the money.
Sarah said his passion for twisting balloon animals is helping him get him to where he wants to go.
"He's really good with this and it helps him socially to be able to figure out what to say to people cause sometimes he struggles with that and just from just watching the youtube videos he'll take on their personas," Sarah said. "Even with the gofundme video you can tell he's just very out-there and in-your-face and he mimics the video that he sees which is great, because he needs those skills."
The school trip is through WorldStrides. Calyton and his mother thinks the trip will give him life lessons that he needs to learn while still being supervised.
His payment was extended to be met by May 5, 2016.
Clayton said if you live locally he will provide you with a balloon animal in exchange for supporting him and appreciates the help the community has given him.
"It really warms my heart to see people providing support to help people like him," Sarah said.
Clayton and his mother hopes his passion to get him the funds he needs to make his next big step in life.