For a child or an adult with autism, creating art can be more than just a fun hobby or activity. Art can become a method of communication, a way to reach out, a bridge to human connection. Art therapy literature has shown that creating art is a useful treatment option, enhancing communication skills, providing enrichment, and giving children a way to excel.
"Autism is a communication disorder," said Wanda Walker. "Doctors and therapists who work with autistic children and adults acknowledge that autistic individuals are visually orientated. Art engages them and encourages communication."
The Clinton T Walker Foundation offers educational and supportive services for people with autism. One of the goals of the organization is to provide opportunities for people with autism to participate in visual art, music and performing arts. The foundation is raising funds to provide art scholarships for children with autism. The scholarships provide for 6 weeks of art classes and materials. You can get involved by participating in a Walk-a-thon planned for March 30th in St. Petersburg. The group calls it 'Walk the Walk."
World Autism Awareness Walk-A-Thon Florida
Saturday, March 30, 2013
8:00 am until 1:00 pm
St. Stefanos Greek Orthodox Church
3600 76th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710
Click here to register or on Walk Day you can sign up at the registration tent.
Walk only - $5 per person
Individual participants with T-shirt - $25 per adult, $10 per child
Family registration - $50 for 2 Adults and 2 or more children.
This Walk-a-thon is a family-friendly event where walkers may stroll along the scenic Pinellas Trail, or they may join a 5K Challenge farther along the trail to the Cross Bayou Bridge, over the intercoastal waterway, and then return to the starting line. All Registrants will receive a breakfast snack at the walk. Children will receive a small craft item and a goodie bag filled with prizes.
Wanda Walker, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, founded The Clinton T Walker Foundation with other family and friends with other family members and friends to honor the memory of Clint Walker, who lost his life due to cancer in 2008. The foundation's web site states that, "Clint was an artist, philosopher, massage therapist, and student. He loved science, theatre, japanese culture, animae, asian languages, medicine, baseball, gaming with his friends, and collecting transformers and comic books. He had an incredible memory and love for life. He was an inspiration to those who knew him. Although he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when he was 10 years old, many of his longtime friends were unaware of his disability."
The registered 501c(3) nonprofit foundation is striving to promote autism awareness. The organization provides mentoring and opportunities for youth and adults who are disadvantaged or disabled, in order for them to achieve self sustaining goals for education and for the arts. They have developed projects that are ongoing to achieve these goals.
In 2008, The Clinton T. Walker Foundation recognized the First Annual World Autism Awareness Day by organizing the "I Walk the Walk" Walk-a-thon. Since it began, the Walk-a-thon has been held in Knoxville. The 5th annual Walk-a-thon was held in Tennessee in 2012. This year, the event continues to grow, and this Walk-a-thon is being held in Florida.
Tania Harvey of Tryblue Marketing is the "website person" and the Event Coordinator for the World Autism Awareness Walk-A-Thon in Florida. She would like to thank the other event team members who are supporting the effort, and the Dunedin Fine Art Center for their involvement as well. She can be reached at (727) 365-9920.
The "Castle of Dreams" is another project that the foundation is working on. This is a planned facility which the foundation is striving to build. It will house the foundation and will provide art, music and theatre programs for autistic children. The Foundation will also launch fundraising activities as well as promote and sell the children's art. The facility will be build as a castle in order to inspire the dreams and aspirations of both the Clinton T Walker Foundation, the kids, and the community.
Donations and support of the Castle of Dreams is requested.
Please make your donations by mail to the
Clinton T Walker Foundation, Inc., PO Box 10867, Knoxville, TN 37939
To learn more about reaching a child with autism, Asperger's Syndrome and other disorders through art, please visit this excellent web site, arttherapyandaustism.com, which provides a list of resources and links for general information on autism and specific information related to art and autism.