One in 44. That's the number of children who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States as of 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This prognosis can be scary for parents. There's a lot of misunderstanding surrounding this condition and researchers are still trying to fully understand this developmental disorder and how it affects an individual's ability to interact with others. That's why continued research is so incredibly important for making strides in ensuring that our communities are more inclusive of autistic individuals who communicate and learn in different ways.

What you may not realize is that we have an amazing asset right here on the South Plains. The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is a premiere resource for those who have been identified with ASD.

Susan Voland, the unit manager for the center, states that "our mission is to increase the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families by providing services, preparing educators, and conducting research. We offer a variety of community-based services, transition programs for young adults, and clinical services in addition to teacher training and research."

In two days, they will be hosting their 17th annual Burkhart Walk for Autism at the TTU John Walker Soccer Complex.

Autism Walk 2022
Credit: Scarborough Specialties

In two days, they will be hosting their 17th annual Burkhart Walk for Autism at the TTU John Walker Soccer Complex. This family-friendly event will feature games, inflatables and appearances from local celebrities like Raider Red and the Masked Rider. Free t-shirts will also be available while supplies last. Most importantly, there will be representatives present to highlight resources that are available in the area.

The walk will be happening from 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, April 24th, 2022. The event is completely free and is a great way to get you, your family and your friends outside on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The current forecast is sunny with highs in the mid to upper 70s. Talk about perfect weather.

Donations are welcome and can be made at the event or via their website. All proceeds will fund services and programs available at the Burkhart Center.

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