Written by Cory Chandler

Date: April 19, 2005
Contact: Cory Chandler,

“College is probably a safe realm for people with Asperger’s. It is for me,” Rachelle Jones, graduate assistant in the College of Education.

LUBBOCK – Textbooks were easy. Other children were hard.

Growing up, Rachele Jones struggled to find the emotional tools many children instinctively use to build social bridges. While she excelled academically, she found it difficult to interact with classmates.

Jones, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is now a Ph.D. student studying autism spectrum disorders at Texas Tech University and has founded the Spectrum Coalition, a support group for people with autism in Lubbock. However, these successes came after years of struggle.

Asperger’s Syndrome falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders – a group of developmental disabilities that tend to hamper social and communication skills and are sometimes marked by obsessive behavior.

While the medical industry focuses on diagnosing and treating autism disorders in children, the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research in Texas Tech’s College of Education will delve into easing the transition of young adults into the world beyond high school.

For some people with autism disorders, this transition is fraught with panic attacks and depression. One goal of the new center will be to assess their strengths and then use those strengths to create a plan for locating educational and career opportunities.


CONTACT: Robin Lock, co-director of The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, College of Education, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1837 or

Rachel Jones, graduate assistant in the College of Education, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1997 or

Other sources can be reached by calling Robin Lock.