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Barefoot Autism Challenge

The inaugural, international Barefoot Autism Challenge will take place from April 1, 2017, through April 30, 2017. We hope this will be a virtual, annual event where everyone is invited to take part, not just those affected by autism.

Human soles contain more sweat glands and sensory nerve endings per square centimeter in the foot than any other part of the body. Our feet constantly supply us with information about the surface we walk on, without our even being aware of it. They tell us whether the surface is hot or cold, rough or smooth, which side it slopes to, etc.1 When you consider that our feet have up to 200,000 nerve endings2, it’s no wonder that wearing shoes will send mixed signals to the brain, especially to someone who is sensory challenged.

People with autism may experience different sensory experiences or have trouble with proprioception. They may have a limited ability to connect with themselves because they cannot connect with the world around them when they are shod. For many people with autism, walking barefoot helps calm down their nerves and lessens their stress while the varying textures awaken their world. Those with autism appear to be more alert and in tune with their surroundings while they are barefoot.

Hi, my name is Tyler. I have autism. I want to challenge you. Whether you have autism or not, I want you to put yourself in the “shoes” of someone with autism–or rather take them off–and take part in the Barefoot Autism Challenge. Go to a location like a park, a trail, a sidewalk, the beach, etc., and take the challenge by removing your shoes and submersing yourself in your environment. Feel the earth. Connect with it, and connect with yourself. Then post a picture or video on social media and at the Barefoot Autism Challenge’s Facebook page at Let us know how it made you feel. Most importantly, share what advocating for someone with autism means to you. Challenge as many friends as you like using #barefootautismchallenge.
Can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

We also have a Zazzle store where we have T-Shirts, keychains, stickers, ornaments, and more products that can be purchased at any time. All items can be customized as you please, and the money purchased on all items will be donated to the Autism Society of Iowa. Feel free to email me if you have any questions on the products.
Please feel free to share this email with the attachments to any interested groups or individuals to help us get the word out.
You have nothing to lose, only yourself to gain.

Tyler Leech


About Ken Bob Saxton

founder of Ken Bob's Original (1997) senior adviser for The Barefoot Runners Society (BRS) chapter president of the Los Angeles area chapter of the BRS and lives in Huntington Beach CA