Burkhart Center Provides Community Activities for Autism Awareness Month

The center strives to educate the public, helping them gain a better understanding of autism.

Autism affects 1 in 88 Americans and every year out of 4 million children in the U.S., approximately 36,500 children eventually will be diagnosed with autism.

Autism affects 1 in 88 Americans and every year out of 4 million children in the U.S., approximately 36,500 children eventually will be diagnosed with autism.

Texas Tech’s Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research has several activities planned throughout the month of April for Autism Awareness Month.

As cases of autism continue to increase, David Richman, professor and chairman of the Burkhart Center, said it is important to raise awareness of the issues pertaining to autism.

“By raising awareness, we hope people gain a better understanding of the people who are affected by autism,” Richman said, “and see them for what they are - people, just like everyone else.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects 1 in 88 Americans and every year out of 4 million children in the U.S., approximately 36,500 children eventually will be diagnosed with autism.

“We want to keep autism on the forefront, because of the increasing number of autism cases in the community,” Richman said.

The center provides a variety of resources in the areas of adult transition, technical assistance in implementing evidence-based interventions for children and community outreach services.

The Burkhart Center has three primary focuses:

  • helping prepare future regular and special education teachers to instruct children with autism
  • providing direct service to families affected by autism in the community
  • conducting research in a wide range of areas, such as assessment and treatment of behavioral problems and behavioral patterns within neurodevelopment disorders

During Autism Awareness Month, the center is providing several community activities, including Autism Awareness Day at Rip Griffin Park on April 15, Walk for Autism Awareness on April 22 and Parent’s Night Out on April 29.

Autism Awareness Day at Rip Griffin Park will include remarks by Coach Dan Spencer and first-pitch guest Texas Tech alumnus Sam Scheef, philanthropist and supporter of the Burkhart Center.

The seventh-annual Burkhart Walk for Autism Awareness will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at Jones AT &T Stadium. This year’s honorary walk chairwoman will be Nikki-Dee Ray, KLBK’s chief meteorologist.

There is no registration fee, but donations are welcome. All proceeds will benefit the Burkhart Building Fund.


The Burkhart Center

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is part of the College of Education and is the premier center in Lubbock for research, education and assistance for families affected by autism.

Research at the center covers three major aspects: developing strategies for the preparation of teachers to meet the needs of students, examining ways to develop parent support networks and preparing individuals with autism as they transition from school to adult services.

The Transition Academy, the center’s flagship program, is home to about 15 teenagers and young adults who have an autism spectrum disorder. They come to campus Monday through Friday to learn job and life skills, including how to live independently, and many have jobs through partnerships with campus and community organization.

The Burkhart Center is named for Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart in honor of their grandson Collin.

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