2022 Autism Awareness event

District and City Partner for Autism Awareness Event
Posted on 04/01/2022
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April is Autism Awareness month, providing opportunities to share stories, educate communities and foster worldwide support and acceptance of people with autism. On Saturday, April 23, DeSoto ISD is partnering with the City of DeSoto Parks and Recreation department to host an Autism Awareness event at the newly renovated Ernie Roberts Park on East Pleasant Run Rd.  Completed as an all abilities facility, the park features zip lining, musical instruments, and the coveted We-Go- Swing.   DeSoto ISD currently serves approximately 140 students with autism.

“Inclusive playgrounds ensure physical and social inclusion where everyone can play together. Inclusive play promotes understanding, reduces prejudices, and supports social integration” assistant parks director Chase Ellis explained.

“The district is excited to partner with the city to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorders,” continued DeISD director of Special Education Chastity Jackson. “This event is a wonderful opportunity to bring the entire community together to not only bring awareness to Autism but the access that all individuals with disabilities will have to this facility. Our goal is to promote inclusiveness in the schools and the community.”

DeSoto city officials adopted its Parks, Recreation, and Open-Space & Trails Master Plan in 2020, which identified the need to replace, enhance and expand the offerings of inclusive play within its playground system.  In June of 2021, the city council earmarked $500,000 to Whirlix Design to design and construct the playground at 515 Pleasant Run Road, between North Hampton Road and North Polk Street. 

In addition to the interactive playground, sensory games will be held and resource providers will be available to assist the community with information.  Patrons are asked to wear blue as a symbol of solidarity in support and acceptance of people with autism.

Registration for this event is FREE for DeSoto residents and DeSoto ISD students, but food service is limited in quantity and registration can only include one student and one parent/guardian. Registration is open now at www.desototexas.gov/register, until capacity is reached.  Visitation without registration is also available, and regular park rules apply for bringing in food and beverages.

Join the fun, spread the word, and help to create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential!