STS Amarillo helps educate community on autism

Throughout the month of April, countless people are dedicated to helping their communities understand autism.

According to the CDC in the United States, one in 88 children are living with autism.

"These kids can do just about everything that any other child can do," said Special Therapist Services Teacher Alex Junell. "It just may just look a little different, and it may just take longer for them to learn that task," said Special Therapist Services Teacher Tanya Cordell.

These Specialized Therapy Service teachers said the perception of autism is skewed. They can read, write and have the capability to do anything they set their mind to.

"Each one is unique. They're full of laughter, joy, and they're eager to learn," said Junell. "In some aspects they're just like every other kid that's out there. They have a passion for life."

Because they are unique, STS treats the child by using visuals and structure to help them.

"Kids with autism, you have to do a lot of repetition," said Cordell. "They're not just going to pick it up the first time. We could do it 500 times or 1000, but repetition is key for our kids."

Teachers, along with on-site therapist work together to create methods that work for each child, and beyond the classroom, they also work alongside with parents.

"We teach our parents the techniques we use hear at school. I have several parents in my room that use picture symbols at home," said Cordell. They use them for feeding, getting them ready for bed, how to brush their teeth and how to be potty trained."

Saturday STS is also hosting the Autism Awareness Walk at 8 a.m. at Thompson Park.

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