Burkhart Center provides services to rural West Texas with mobile clinic
April is World Autism Month. Last year more than $1.3 million in grants were given to 39 states, increasing support services for those on the autism spectrum and their families.
One center on the Texas Tech campus is helping reach those in rural West Texas. The Burkhart Center for Autism and Research is home to more than 15 clinical services.
"But we also realized there are several rural communities that, you know, families don't necessarily have the access or ability to be able to come into town on a regular basis for services," Jennifer Hamrick, Mobile Clinic Outreach for Autism, said.
The mobile clinic provides free assistance, where there tends to be a lack of affordable resources.
"There are so many people that either don't have insurance that cover applied behavioral analysis services or just don't have the financial capability of accessing those services," Hamrick said. "So, it's very important to me to help anyone who really needs that help, but can't afford it."
Educational services provide support for families and educators to understand and work with those on the spectrum.
"I was a public school teacher in a district where there was no training and really no services for the kids I was being asked to serve," Wes Dotson, Burkhart Center Director, said. "I went to graduate school and took this job because i want to be a part of changing that for rural areas around the country."
Dotson said early identification and treatment is vital to long-term life outcomes, but the center works with all ages, including young adults. Through its Transition Academy, clients are able to work towards becoming more independent.
"But even for our families who might have older children, adolescents or young adults who need support, accessing services at any age can help lead to more independence, success in school," Dotson said. "What we're ultimately always after here at the Burkhart Center is just to improve people's ability to join their community and be a part of their world."
In 2013 the Burkhart Center served about 30 to 40 clients. It currently serves more than 100.
"So, the Burkhart Center for me, is a perfect fit of wanting to be in a place and guide a program that is serving those who otherwise would have nothing," he said.
Access more information and request a visit from the mobile clinic here.