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“Families should not have to walk alone in fear or discouragement when a child is diagnosed with autism.”

March 2019

East Texas Autism Network Now a Program of Champions for Children

Smith County Champions for Children recently added the Autism Education and Resources (AER) program (formerly the East Texas Autism Network) to its programs and services.

Since 1996, Champions for Children has been designing and implementing progressive programs that help at-risk children, support and coach their parents and caregivers, and train and equip the childcare providers that work with them. Champions’ programs serve children birth-19 years.

“We believe early intervention is key to a child’s success in school and in life,” said Jackie Cannon, executive director of Champions for Children. “The Autism Education and Resources program ties in quite well with our existing programs. We want to be able to help all children. Many children enter kindergarten behind their peers. Once that happens, it’s very difficult for them to catch up. We can help prevent that with our programs.”

Champions offers counseling, classroom observations, professional teacher trainings, Brain Gym®, Music + Movement class, Irlen® Syndrome Screening, assessments and screenings for ADHD, development, behavior, anxiety and depression. The organization also has four major conferences each year for educators and parents.

“Autism Education and Resources will provide parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum with resources, referrals and up-to-date information. At the same the program will help them navigate the maze of available treatments, therapies, assessments, and diagnoses,” she added. “Together with our child development specialists and counselors, the Autism Education & Resources program provides families with a network of support designed to help every child reach his/her full potential.”

Champions for Children is the only nonprofit in East Texas whose primary focus is quality early childhood education. It serves children, families, childcare centers, and preschool teachers in Smith County and 14 surrounding East Texas counties.

Julee Renfroe founded the East Texas Autism Network in 2002 to assist and educate parents and caregivers of children on the Autism Spectrum. The organization was designed to help guide parents through the diagnostic and assessment process which is an overwhelming journey for most parents who are just beginning to seek help.

Though the name of the program has changed, the mission will remain the same: to help parents and caregivers receive an early diagnosis for a child who may have autism spectrum disorders in order to receive early intervention treatment.

Please contact Champions for Children for more information, 903.592.1454 or email rachel@championsforchildren.org.