Padgett named to ASA Board of Directors
Published 11:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2022
Alexa Padgett of Andalusia has been appointed to the board of directors for Autism Support of Alabama.
“This is a non-profit organization that I’m excited to be a part of,” Padgett said.
The group’s mission is to improve services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families through education and advocacy, which Padgett said they accomplish in many ways.
“They provide scholarships to adults with autism who are graduating high school,” she said. “They sell car tags for autism support to help. They help raise money to send children with autism and their families to Camp ASCCA on Lake Martin.”
They also will provide resources at the community level, and that’s what interests Padgett, a pre-school special ed teacher, the most.
“I’ve been teaching pre-school special ed for 12 years,” she said. “I have so many people who call me and say, ‘Mrs. Alexa, I don’t know what to do.’
“Parents are lost when their children are diagnosed and just don’t know what to do,” she said.
Because she appreciates those resources, she plans to help raise money for Autism Support of Alabama and hopes to do a local 5K.
She got involved with the group through Whitney Mead, the group’s vice president, who audits special ed programs and was familiar with the work being done locally.
“I’m looking forward to participating, getting more community involvement, offering parent trainings and helping spread awareness and acceptance for children with autism,” she said. “I’m really excited about being on the board. “
Padgett was a general education major at Auburn University who was bored with her classes.
“I chose to do one of my practicum courses at the mental health center in Opelika,” she said. “I worked with adults with disabilities for the first time, and I fell in love with it and changed my major to special ed. “
She took a job teaching special ed pre-school in Montgomery right out of college and said, “I’ve been in pre-school ever since.”
Children are referred to the pre-school program by pediatricians, pre-schools and day cares, she said. “Sometimes parents just call me because they’ve heard about it.”
It’s important to identify the children early, she said, so that they can build the communication skills needed to function in mainstream classrooms.
“ I want people to know the importance of getting children help,” she said. “Don’t wait.”
Parents of children aged 3-5 who have concerns can get pre-school children screened by calling the Andalusia City Schools office at 222-3186. The screening includes a hearing and vision test.
For more information about resources that are available, visit www.autism-alabama.org.