Annual Big Country Walk for Autism


About us


REACH for a Difference came to be soon after Sara Collins received a letter from the church daycare stating her daughter, who has Autism, was no longer welcome at their facility. Shocked, angry, and disappointed, Sara did not know where to turn. In order to keep her job, she needed daycare for her child. She remembers realizing she had a decision to make: Will this situation paralyze me or propel me forward?
She began to look for information and resources, and quickly found there was not much available. Seeing an opportunity to fill a need and propel forward, REACH for a Difference was born.

REACH for a Difference supports individual, family, and community actions to address identified needs and issues of the autism spectrum in the West Central Texas area surrounding Abilene. Along with supporting activities to promote greater understanding of these needs and issues, REACH also develops, locates, and provides resources to meet expressed needs of the community.

REACH stands for Resources, Education, Action, Community, and Hope.

REACH For A Difference serves individuals, families, schools, and professionals impacted by the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

REACH Resources include:

Community Resource Packets


ARD Advocacy through the PEN Project

Community events

Support groups (in-person and online)

And more!

* Services funded by REACH require an IEP diagnosis. Other diagnosis sheets will be considered on a case by case basis.

Our Team

Sara Collins

Founder/Executive Director

Chloe Gilbreath


Marie Sanchez

Board Member

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Richard Sanchez

Vice President

Whitney Collins

Board Member

Connie Mangin

Board Member

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Mary Lou Gilbreath


Gabrielle Mallet


Andie Wearden

Board Member 

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What is Autism?

"Autism is a neurological disorder that typically is diagnosed by the age of three. The symptoms of autism involve three major areas of development, and impact a child’s abilities to: engage in reciprocal social interactions with other, communicate with others in developmentally appropriate ways; and participate in a range of activities and behaviors typical of the child’s age and stage of development.

One of the hallmarks of autism is that the characteristics vary significantly among different children with autism. No two children with autism are the same. That’s because the impairments can range from relatively mild to more severe. Autism spectrum disorders are found in all cultures and across all socio-economic groups, with the ratio of boys to girls with ASD being 4 to 1." 


- Organization of Autism Research, OAR


Nichole Anderson was the recipient of the REACH for a Difference Outstanding Teacher/Paraprofessional Award and will be honored at the 4th Annual Big Country Walk for Autism Saturday April 27th HSU Shelton Stadium


See Us In Action


Upcoming Events

Big Country Walk for Autism 2020

-- Cancelled

Interested in Volunteering?

Please fill your contact details below:


PO Box 7032

Abilene, Texas 79608

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REACH For A Difference

Support Group for Dads

Support Group for Moms

Big Country Walk For Autism