November 8, 2013
Written by Jaryn Jones
The Burkhart Center’s primary objectives are to provide support and services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families.
Texas Tech University officials today (Nov. 8) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, located at 2908 18th St.
Previously housed in the College of Education Building, the two-story autism education and research facility showcases the impressive growth the program has experienced since its establishment and now includes 28,458 square feet of space for clinical facilities.
“We are incredibly thankful for the support of the Burkharts, who have supported the center’s mission from the very beginning,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “The future of the program is exciting, and we look forward to making groundbreaking movements in autism research right here at Texas Tech.”
The new facility is home to the Behavior Clinic and Transition Academy, which focuses on developing life and job skills with students who have graduated high school. The second floor is reserved for research and support space as well as academic offices. The new facility also features an outdoor play area, public art and landscape enhancements.
The center soon will offer the Early Intensive Intervention Center, which will be available to patients from diagnosis to six years old. The program focuses on rigorous one-on-one therapy for up to three hours a day per child.
“With the combination of facilities and staff in the beautiful new Burkhart Center, Texas Tech will continue to lead the way in research and education related to autism,” said M. Duane Nellis, Texas Tech University president. “With research at the center covering 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 Burkhart Center will be the beacon and model statewide and even nationally to address the challenges of autism through research and education.”
Established in 2005, the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is named for Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart who have made significant contributions to the establishment and mission of the center.
“We are extremely excited about the opening of the new center,” said Jim Burkhart. “We have watched the program grow throughout the years and could not be more thrilled with the possibilities this new facility offers.”
The Burkhart Center’s primary objectives are to provide support and services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families, train regular and special education teachers, and conduct applied research that will increase the quality of life of those affected by ASD. The center also provides a variety of resources in the areas of adult transitions, technical assistance and community outreach services.
“Although the facility is new, our mission remains the same,” Burkhart said. “We will continue striving to improve the quality of life for those affected by autism and serve the ongoing need for research and instruction as our program enters this exciting next chapter.”
Construction for the new facility began in August of 2012.
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.