March 30th, 2011
One in just over one hundred children are diagnosed with autism. But because of places like Heartspring in Wichita, in most cases, the diagnosis says nothing about what kind of life they will lead.
In preparation for one of Heartspring's biggest fundraisers, The Autism CARE Walk, we want to give you a case in point. Meet high school freshman Barry Ketcham.
During class change at Maize South High School, Barry is doing what every other kid is doing, socializing.
Now you may not think small talk is any big deal, but to a 15-year-old with Aspergers, a form of autism, it is.
Barry is not only friendly, but he is popular to boot. This fall, he was voted homecoming prince candidate. And there could be more like Barry Ketcham. He is just one of hundreds of kids to receive services through Heartspring's CARE program. They help him succeed at school, at home and in the community.
“When I have a business call me and say we want you to educate our employees about Aspergers syndrome, because we just hired an employee with Aspergers Syndrome, that opens doors,” Connie Erbert, Heartspring Care Program said.
“Barry’s very into technology, the creatures, the alien and so he actually taught the kids how to create an alien using the computer technology sport. And so the next week we had all these spore creatures hanging from the ceiling," Barry's science teacher, Blake Smith said.
“I just want to get it to the mainstream of the audience, that way kids like me can get some help. They can live normal lives, get good jobs, get married, get kids. All that good stuff in life," Barry said.
If you would like to help Heartspring help kids like Barry, we would love to see you at the Autism Care Walk this Saturday at the Heartspring campus in East Wichita.
Susan Peters will be there to kickoff the two-mile walk that begins at 10am.
For more information or to sign up, visit autismcarewalk.org.