Autism Expo raises awareness, dire need of services in East Texas
POSTED: Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 9:11pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 2:45pm
TYLER, TEXAS (KETK) — In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the Parent Services Center held an Autism Expo at the University of Texas at Tyler on Saturday.
Autism Network with Parent Services Center and other programs provided parents, caretakers and advocates information about what services are available for children with special needs in East Texas.
“Parents are hungry, not only for information about what their options are but just for access,” said Julee Renfroe, Autism Network Coordinator.
The TLC –Treatment and Learning Center for Autism on Tyler says there’s a shortage in special needs professionals in East Texas. We’re told with the growing Autism epidemic awareness has been raised. “We get calls every single day asking for help, we have grown and we have waiting lists in our day treatment program and our outreach program and we can’t keep up,” says Whitney Sherman, Behavioral Analyst with the TLC.
Special guests included Baylor University professors in the Developmental Disabilities Program. Guest Speaker and professor Dr. Tonya Davis at Baylor University says their program is a program she sees in the future of UT Tyler.
“We are seeing an increase of undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking careers to help children with autism as a therapist or a speech pathologist.
Lisa Carroll of Athens attended the Autism Expo for her grandson, 8, who is autistic. She’s trying to get her grandson in speech and occupational therapy. “We are waiting lists, so he hasn’t had any for two years so this is a bad area to live if you are autistic, so the expo ins showing me that there is and I just didn’t know where it was.”
Carroll feels an elementary school isn’t the right place for him because it’s not an environment where he can learn. She says the T:C has been helpful and a blessing. “That’s where we want Brett my grandson to go to school because if he doesn’t get the chance to then he wouldn't get fair chance in learning.