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South Walton Academy is raising awareness for students on the Autism Spectrum one swing at a time. Due to COVID-19, the inclusion school will now host their second annual Tee Up for Autism Golf Tournament on Saturday, April 10 at 9 a.m. at The Links golf course located within Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. All proceeds will benefit their diverse student body, consisting of children that are neurotypical, advanced developing, and on the Autism spectrum.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m. followed by a full day of golf, food and drinks, entertainment and prizes. Breakfast will be provided by Blue Mountain Bakery and lunch will be provided by Back Beach Barbecue with beverages provided by Amavida Coffee Roasters, Buffalo Rock, and Idyll Hounds Brewing Company. Teams of four and individuals are welcome to sign up for the event with all proceeds to benefit South Walton Academy, a non-profit inclusion school, the only of its kind located in Santa Rosa Beach.
“We are a unique school that accommodates all learning styles and learning abilities,” said South Walton Academy Founder and President Calley Middlebrooks. “All of our classrooms are inclusive, and this helps with learning and teaching students with and without disabilities. We are so much more than just a private school, we are also a pediatric therapy center, and are opening a gymnasium and indoor place space.”
The St. Joe Foundation has donated $64,000 to South Walton Academy to help fund trampolines, a ninja warrior course, a zip line, classroom desks, and chairs. The funds raised from the second annual Tee up For Autism golf tournament will go towards additional equipment and programs needed at the school, in addition to the new sensory gym.
Middlebrooks, a developmental therapist and mother to three, has a son who was diagnosed with Autism at four years old while one of her daughters was developing academically advanced. Through her experience as a developmental therapist and at home, Middlebrooks recognized the need for a school where children could move at their own pace and receive therapy or accommodations as needed all in one place. This would be the answer for most families coping with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Our school is for all students, not just those with special needs,” Middlebrooks said. “Being able to accommodate special needs students provides the inclusion environment all of our community needs. We don’t plan to stop here, our hope is to soon add adult services to the school including music, art, and fitness.”
Sponsorships for the second annual Tee Up for Autism Golf Tournament are still available and there are many ways to become involved. Those interested can choose from sponsoring a child for $110, sponsoring a hole for $125, or sponsoring an activity, such as longest drive and closest to the pin competition. Companies or local businesses are also welcome to donate a raffle prize to be auctioned off during the event. Each sponsor will be mentioned in the program, on social media, and have their logo displayed on the event t-shirt. Those sponsoring an event, or a hole will have a tee box sign placed at the hole. Teams of four can sign up for $450, and individuals can play for $125. Register in advance at www.SouthWaltonAcademy.com. Players will also be able to register in person the day of the event, but pre-registration is highly encouraged to ensure a spot in the competition. For more information on how to become a sponsor or volunteer, please contact Brooke at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As a parent, I am always looking for ways to educate others about Autism and how to make the world a safer place for my child and others on the Autism Spectrum,” Middlebrooks said. “We can all learn from one another how to help others succeed, which in return will help us make the world a better place.”
About South Walton Academy South Walton Academy (SWA) is a 501c3 nonprofit private school and pediatric therapy center in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. SWA accepts children from birth to grade 12 to include all abilities, whether they are neurotypical, advanced developing, or have a developmental delay. Additional private pediatric therapy services are available to the public and their students. South Walton Academy is the only school in South Walton where students can receive ABA therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy in the same place. State funded scholarships are available to help cover the cost of private school which include children with low income, medium income, developmental delays, bullied students, or students who need assistance with reading. Learn more at www.stepupforstudents.org and spread the word. For more information and/or to make a donation to support the school, please call (850) 213-4595, find SWA on Facebook, or visit www.southwaltonacademy.com.
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