Kentucky State University freshman Turner Warren was recently recognized for his work with the University of Louisville Autism Center during the 50th Annual Exceptional Children’s Conference. Warren, who is a kicker on the Thorobreds football team received a service award for his work with the program.During his senior year, he was the first high school student to be accepted in a work-study program at the University of Louisville Autism Center at Kosair Charity (ULAC).

“I found out about the University of Louisville Autism Center through my mom who works there. I was very interested in doing my internship there so I asked if I could be a peer model and work with the professionals there,” Warren said.

Larry Taylor, Executive Director of the Kentucky Autism Training Center, Turner Warren, Mike Miller, Senior Consultant at the Kentucky Autism Training Center and Scott Tomchek, Assistant Director and Clinical Director of the Weiskopf Center for the Evaluation of Children at the University of Louisville

Larry Taylor, Executive Director of the Kentucky Autism Training Center, Turner Warren, Mike Miller, Senior Consultant at the Kentucky Autism Training Center and Scott Tomchek, Assistant Director and Clinical Director of the Weiskopf Center for the Evaluation of Children at the University of Louisville

In addition to work with children, Warren interacted with psychologists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

Warren had previous experience working with children with special needs after serving as a peer tutor at Atherton High School in Louisville.

As a peer model, Warren would demonstrate daily habits such as brushing his teeth with kids, eating a snack and playing games with the children.

“They would see how I would perform these daily living tasks of a person who is close to their age and could imitate or learn from me how to do these things,” he explained.

Warren says the he is honored to receive the award from the U of L Autism Center.

“It is nice to know that people appreciated what I have done. It really helped focus in on what I want to become,” he said. “Seeing all the children [at the conference] reminded me of the kids I used to see in class and worked with reminded what I am trying to accomplish, which is a profession in the special education field.”