Christian County Special Needs Autism Parent Support
The Autism Parent Support Group Spotlight for the month of January is SNAPS (Special Needs Autism Parent Support) of Christian County. The group has been in existence since April 2008. We meet monthly, the third Thursday of every month, from 6-7:30 PM at Holiday Elementary School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Childcare is provided by certified special education teachers if given advanced notice.
For the past 4 years, 2 members of the group, Wally and Tina Hall, have sponsored a golf tournament in honor of their son who has autism. With this event, they have raised a cumulative total of $35,578 for the Autism Society of America. This year's tournament will be held at Western Hills Golf Course on April 17, 2010. SNAPS plans to continue its advocacy activities during Autism Awareness Month (April) by providing manned informational booths at local businesses, where autism literature and awareness ribbons will be given out. SNAPS members also plan to read a children's book on the topic of autism to various elementary classrooms around the county.
Most 90-minute SNAPS meetings include at least a brief presentation on a particular topic such as using visual supports, addressing behavior challenges, or the IEP development process. We have been fortunate enough to have Debbie Lorence from the KATC as our speaker on 3 occasions. Part of each meeting is also dedicated to open discussion on topics of the parents' choice. The meeting is facilitated by Janet Read Godsey, special education teacher consultant for Christian County Schools.
Christian County has a population of 80,000 and is located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border with Hopkinsville as the county seat. Christian County Public Schools consist of 9 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 2 high schools. There are 3 additional private/parochial schools in Hopkinsville. Best estimates indicate that over 85 families in Christian County have a least one child with autism or autistic-like characteristics.