Walking for Autism Acceptance

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 11:37 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Today, the CDC estimates that by the time a child is 8 years old, one in 44 has been identified on the autism spectrum, a condition known as ASD.

Nobody knows what causes it, but we know these children have some difference in the brain that causes a developmental disorder which can make it harder to communicate and interact with others.

April is Autism Awareness month, a good time to focus on a great resource at Texas Tech.

Dr. Jennifer Hamrick, Ph.D., is the Co-Director of the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research at Texas Tech. She says even if a family suspects a child may have autism, they can provide some help.

She says, “So we’ll have families that will reach out, just asked questions about we think that our child might have autism. We do provide diagnostic services. In the programs that I’ve overseen with our mobile clinic and our telehealth, we’ve been able to reach 1000s. We help families not just here in the Lubbock area, but across the entire state of Texas.”

And beyond that, she says the Burkhart Center can provide many services as that child grows up.

There are clinic services for school aged children. Later, the Transition Academy provides opportunities for individuals between the age of 18 and 30, helping them develop skills to become as independent as possible.

On the flip-side, that’s where Brandon Buzzank has found a way to give back and help others with ASD. We have done several stories about Brandon, the McGavock frog. He has struggled with ASD all his life but enjoys living independently now and has worked at various places.

He has also been invited to speak at the Transition Academy to encourage those young adults with ASD to interact with others and reach for their full potential.

It’s not just about communication.

The Burkhart Center encourages movement too.

That’s why they team up with the Texas Tech Recreation center to keep these young people active.

And what better way to move than to join the Autism Walk this Sunday?

Dr. Hamrick says before the pandemic, this walk would attract as many as 2500 people, all walking for autism acceptance.

There is no registration fee although donations are appreciated.

Meet at the TTU John Walker Soccer Complex at 3901 10th Street near UMC.

There will be lots of activities and inflatables for the kids.

The McGavock frog will be there too. You may remember I wrote a story about him called The Frog with ASD. We will have some books available at the event.

RELATED STORY: Karin McCay’s new children’s book tells story of kindness shown to The Frog with ASD

The walk begins Sunday at 2 p.m.

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