5K Autism Awareness Run/Walk benefits local students

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Marsha Eldridge and son, Braden, delivers sensory toys to several schools. They are pictured at Manila elementary with teacher Tracey Bohannan

It was like Christmas in October as Marsha Eldridge and her son, Braden, were busy on Tuesday, Oct. 29, distributing sensory tools to schools from Brookland to Manila.

The sensory tools were purchased from proceeds from a 5K autism run/walk held in March in Lake City.

Mrs. Eldridge is associated with the Autism Association of Northeast Arkansas and wants to bring awareness to autism.

"I have a calling to help bring awareness to autism and how others see it." Mrs. Eldridge said. "I talked to Lake City Mayor Jon Milligan about having a 5K run to help bring awareness to autism and he was quick to get on board. The event raised $2,500."

Eldridge wanted to share the benefits and purchased sensory teaching tools for the special education classrooms in Brookland, Bay, Riverside East and West, Buffalo Island Central East and West and Manila. Sensory tools are a great educational teaching method for children with autism, she said.

Mrs. Eldridge said one in 54 children are diagnosed with some form of autism.

"I want to help make people aware that autistic children are not any less, but just see the world through a different angle," she said.

Mrs. Eldridge said her son, Braden, is a personal inspiration to her. Braden has Aspergers, a form of autism.

"My son was born at 28 weeks and weighed less than three pounds at birth," she said. "He was very delayed and when he was five years old he was diagnosed with autism. I didn't know a lot about it so I did a lot research. Today, I want to put autism out in the public so others will know how to take better care of a autistic child. This has me so grateful of what God has given me. My Braden is a true gift. I would be glad to share any information I have on autism with anyone who needs more information or just someone to talk to."

Mrs. Eldridge's email address is meldridge@rittermail.com.

The 5K autism run/walk will be an annual event and Mrs. Eldridge is looking forward to the next one.

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