Giving hope to families coping with autism

Posted: Updated:

Parents with autistic and special needs children can often get frustrated, but there's a special place here in Wichita that has been bringing hope to Kansas families for more than 80 years. 

Heartsprings is a 37-acre campus serving more than 1,200 kids a year. 

Keegan Baker is one of them. He has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It's different in everyone, and includes a wide range of symptoms and disabilities. 

"(Heartsprings has) taught my wife and me to know basically what are his triggers," said Kevin Baker, Keegan's dad.

Getting private professional help can be expensive. 

"For any parent I think that's your worst nightmare -- not being able to help your child or see them succeed in life," said Stacy Williamson, director of development for Heartsprings.

Not only is Heartsprings a nonprofit, it's staff and facility are some of the best, incorporating the latest education techniques and therapy.

"We have staff who are fully educated to take care of your child and work with them and the struggles you might be facing if you have a child with autism," Williamson said.

In many cases the changes can be transformative.

"You're not alone," Kevin Baker said. "I know there are a lot of people out there  who feel they are but there is plenty of parents in your same situation"

It's one of the many reasons our partners at the DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers made Heartsprings this weeks Wins For Kansas, and presented the organization with a $500 check to help them continue their work in the community. 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to