Texas Tech’s Burkhart Center to Offer Resource Support Line and Online Forum

April is Autism Awareness Month.

Texas Tech University’s Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research has been awarded a grant from The CH Foundation to assist families raising a child/youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Two forms of service will be offered through this grant-funded initiative.

The first type of service will be parent support that will include an online forum to serve as (1) an information clearinghouse regarding local ASD resources and services, and (2) a way for community members to ask Family Support Specialist, Becky Critz, questions, nominate additional options for ASD resources, or simply provide each other support through an online community forum. The forum is at http://www.burkhartcenter.org.

An alternative option is its call-in center at (806) 224-5072, that will assist families in locating resources in the community.

“The goal of this service is to help decrease parenting stress and increase access to services and information for families,” said DeAnn Lechtenberger, research assistant professor in the Burkhart Center. “We will have detailed information such as respite care, therapy options, or help to identify local physicians, psychologists and dentists that have previously worked well with individuals with autism.”

The second type of service will be reserved for families who report more complex needs that require a more in-depth assessment before appropriate referral to community resources can be offered to the family.

Through The CH Foundation grant, the Burkhart Center also will conduct a study with families raising a child with autism to identify (a) common sources of parenting and family stress across different age ranges for individuals with autism, (b) the range of services families have access to in the community, and (c) the barriers they experience while attempting to access services for their family.

 Lechtenberger said the final product of this grant will be a better understanding of community resources that are and are not available to parents seeking help raising a child with autism.

“We are very grateful to The CH Foundation for its financial support for our family support project; and we are excited about the types of assistance we plan to offer families,” said David Richman, chair of the Burkhart Center.

For more information on the program and services, contact Becky Critz, parent support consultant, at (806) 224-5072 or rebecca.critz@ttu.edu.

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CONTACT: DeAnn Lechtenberger, researcher, Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, (806) 742-1997 ext. 324, or deann.lechtenberger@ttu.edu.