6th Annual Tyler’s Trek for Autism Awareness by Julie Stout

National Autism Awareness month is in April, but Roanoke is holding a major event a little early. For the sixth year in a row, Roanoke College is hosting Tyler’s Trek. This is a walk to raise awareness for autism but more specifically, to honor Tyler Turner, who actually has autism. Tyler is the grandson of Tom Turner, Roanoke’s former Director of Campus Safety. Dean Gene is noted in saying that Tyler’s Trek “truly recognizes the personal respect and impact one individual has had on the campus community”.  Tyler’s Trek is not just a student run event, many faculty and staff get involved and participate in the 5k. This walk will take place today, March 14th, at 4:00 p.m. The run starts on the back quad and then runs through the streets of Salem. Those who registered early will have special T-shirts, but even if you did not register it is a great event to go to, especially to support friends who are registered and to honor Tyler. There was a silent auction held on Thursday continuing into today; The profits from both the silent auction and the 5k will go to the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center in Roanoke (BRACC).

BRAAC is a great resource for not only kids with Autism, but also for kids with other disabilities. They work with students who have learning disabilities from ADHD to Dyslexia. They also work with each child as an individual, using methods that work best for each individual child to teach the children. BRAAC has computer based learning, multiple therapy techniques and they aim to teach children with Autism social skills, independent life skills and transition planning. For more information, you can go to the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center’s website. In the meantime, feel free to come out and be part of a growing tradition!