WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Heartspring supports children with complex needs and developmental disabilities.

They offer a free course to understand what autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is and how to create a welcoming space.

“The more we can understand ourselves and other people, makes us more inclusive and makes a more inclusive community,” said Tristen Moore, the care program coordinator at Heartspring.

She leads the program with a purpose, knowing the impact when the opposite of inclusion is applied.

“I grew up with a brother who has autism, and I know what it’s like to go into organizations or businesses and be looked at or judged because of the way that my brother was acting,” said Moore.

Teachers at Head Start, like Dee Rankin, are using the program to educate themselves.

“Where do these behaviors come from, what triggers them, how can you respond to them effectively so that kids can be more comfortable in our classrooms and grow and develop and be successful,” said Rankin.

Integrating tools from the course into the classroom.

“If someone is overstimulated or you can tell that they are uncomfortable, just providing them a safe space to ask questions. If you say a phrase that they don’t understand, maybe asking if they don’t understand it or not and then taking the time to teach them what that means,” said Moore.

“Everybody needs connection, and if we figure out how to connect with each other, the world can be a completely different place,” said Rankin.

The lesson learned when acceptance is applied outside the classroom.

The free course is for people, businesses and organizations.

Other resources offered by Heart spring include therapeutic school, outpatient services, social clubs and community outreach.

Three ways to Support Heartspring:

  1. Explore Community Outreach Programs, including Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  2. Volunteer
  3. Donation; monetary and other items