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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Golf tournament will raise funds to benefit autism programs

To help raise funds to support services for families and children with autism, the Southern New Mexico Autism Project (SNAP), part of New Mexico State University's Autism Initiative, is partnering with the Las Cruces Public Schools to host the Golf for Autism Tournament.

The tournament will be held Saturday, April 24, at the NMSU golf course. Tee time will be at 7:30 a.m. New Mexico's Secretary of Education, Veronica Garcia, will be attending the tournament.

Christine Newtson, of NMSU's Communication Disorders Program and project coordinator of SNAP, said those who wish to participate in the tournament can register up until April 20. There is a $100 entry fee per golfer. To register, participants can call (575) 527-6642.

"The proceeds will be divided equally between the hosting agencies and will go toward funding resources that will help families and children with autism," Newtson said. "NMSU's portion of the proceeds will, among other things, be used to buy additional materials for the NMSU Autism Initiative's/SNAP lending library."

The lending library is a project in which materials are lent out to schools, educators, and families throughout southern New Mexico that they can use to design visual learning aids for children and students with autism, learn about autism, and utilize sensory-based learning materials. Newtson said children with autism need such visual aid and structuring because they do not understand or receive auditory cues in the same way as typically developing children.

For example, when asked to sit down, a child with autism often will not understand the request; but when shown a picture or drawing of a chair, the child will respond. The Autism Initiative's lending library provides educators and families with the materials to make things such as a visual schedule for students with autism to help their understanding and learning.

In the Golf for Autism Tournament, there will be prizes for first, second and third place, as well as for the longest drive and the closest to the pin. The registration fee includes the green fee, golf carts and attendance to an awards luncheon.

The tournament also is being sponsored by Aprendamos Intervention Team, Biad Chili, Direct Therapy Services, International Delights, Sgt. Almanza of the NM National Guard and Pacific Child & Family Associates.

For more information, contact Christine Newtson at (575) 646-2363 or George Holguin at (575) 522-5800 (LCPS).