By Holly Watford
For the past 10 years, the Autism Society of Alabama has been hosting the Walk for Autism in 15 cities throughout Alabama. According to the website Autism Speaks, Autism is a “serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others”. The mission of the ASA is to help improve diagnostic and therapeutic services to individuals through education and advocacy within the state. ASA aims to spread awareness and acceptance for the 1 in 68 who are diagnosed. The Walk for Autism not only helps bring awareness to this disorder, but also to raise money to fund the cause and eventually solve the puzzle of autism spectrum disorders.
The Walk for Autism will be a two-mile walk held at the Ida Bell Young Park on April 25. Registration/ check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. This will be a noncompetitive walk where people are welcome to bring strollers and wagons for their children. Even though it is noncompetitive, the first person to finish the walk will be awarded with a medal. Lauren Reid, Fundraising and Events Manager for the ASA, said that there were approximately 2,000 people who participated statewide last year, 200 of which from Montgomery. There is a $30 fee to pre-register and a $35 fee if you sign up the day of the walk. The ASA’s Montgomery chapter was able to raise $10,000 for the walk last year.
If participating in a walk is not for you, the ASA provides a sleep-in option instead. This option includes the registration fee and a t-shirt. Reid says that people can also donate to the cause by visiting www.autism-alabama.org. After the event there will be post-walk activities that people of all ages can enjoy. There will be food vendors, resource exhibitors, and a kids’ activity corner that will include bounce houses, a bubble station and face painting.
Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the United States. This disability affects over 50,000 people in the state of Alabama alone. With ASA’s Walk for Autism, funds can be raised to help fight this disorder and hopefully bring it to an end. For more information, visit www.walkforautismal.com. Together we can help solve the pieces to this puzzle.