Annual 5k run/walk raise funds for autism awareness

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Annual 5k run/walk raise funds for autism awareness

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DeAnna Morrow knew she had to make her own path. Morrow has three kids. Her middle-child, who is nine, has autism. Wanting to do more to help, Morrow went back to school to become a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Morrow’s initiative Behavior Train was among the many programs aimed to help families with autistic children at the annual Superheroes for Autism 5k Run/Walk this past Saturday in Kiroli park.  Attendees and volunteers dressed up as Batman, Captain America, Superman and others at the event.

The event raised awareness, funds and the spirits of families with autistic children. Amy Ellis, the organizer of the event, was happy to see so many families come out for the cause. Ellis’s son has autism. She shared that the event’s superhero theme was actually Ryan’s, her son, suggestion.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one form of therapy known to help kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Brain Train and other ABA service providers were a large part of the event, dedicated to helping families gather information on the very best options for their kids.

Behavior Train, in particular, was opened with the motto, “The Engine of Change.”  The program offers group parent meetings, goal plans, assessments and much more.

“I feel like I am now walking through this with the parents, as both a parent of someone with ASD and a professional in the field,” Morrow said.

The event featured the main 5k run/walk and a one-mile fun run as well.

All proceeds from the event went towards Families Helping Families of NELA. According to their website, Families Helping Families is “a family directed resource center whose mission is to provide information and referral, education and training and peer to peer support to individuals with disabilities and their families.” The organization is available for any family living in the Northeast Louisiana area who has a family member, or knows someone, with developmental disabilities, including ASD.

Suzonne Shipley, a vocal music education senior, attended the event with her job, Positive Outcomes. Shipley is a registered behavior technician, or line tech. She assists the BCBA and even helps with therapies. “The event is a wonderful opportunity for parents and kids to see that they are not alone in their fight,” Shipley said.

A sea of green t-shirts with the writing, “We will fight your fight” and “Tristin is our hero” on them were seen at Kiroli Park.

Shontae Johnson said that although Tristin couldn’t be at the event himself, all of his family, friends and church wanted to come and show their support. “He is a great kid; we come every year to show our love and to help spread awareness,” Johnson said.