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Support Autism Awareness at the CARE Walk

Support Autism Awareness at CARE Walk

April is National Autism Awareness month and every year Heartspring hosts the CARE Walk downtown at the WaterWalk. CARE stands for the Community of Autism Resources and Education program. This is one of several fundraisers Heartspring runs every year to raise money to help support their programming.

Individuals and groups can raise funds for their campaign and participate in the mile and a half fun walk. Last year’s CARE Walk raised more than $108,000 with the biggest team raising $11,000 of that.

The money raised is used to support programming and provide scholarships for families so their children can participate in groups that promote teamwork, social skills, special interests, sports and a camp during the summer.

About the CARE Walk

The CARE Walk is a special event in which around 2,500 families and community supporters unite over each year. They don’t see indifference, instead, they see exceptionalities that make each personality special and unique.

It’s a big party with food trucks, music, activities and local mascots that even participate in the walk. Frankly, it’s more like a family reunion. All families and individuals with similar experiences. Each one an advocate for their family member.

This year’s walk will be held on Saturday, April 28 at the WaterWalk across from the Wichita Boathouse.

If you would like to learn more about Heartspring and the services they provide, please visit Heartspring.org. Autism cannot be cured, but early intervention can help those on the spectrum.

My Experience with Autism

The Autism Spectrum is wide and as unique as those on it.

I know firsthand because I was blessed with two sons on the spectrum, each different from the other but both as loved and special as any other child. When the first diagnosis was handed down I remembered experiencing the feeling of the unknown, questioning who I would turn to and the costs associated with care.

A new show had just premiered on television called Parenthood and the Braverman’s son Max had the same diagnosis of Aspergers as my son did. Their son had an in-home therapist who used a technique of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Research mode kicked in and it was then that I discovered how much that sort of help and support could cost. Not to mention the costs of inclusion activities so my son could have the same experiences like camp or a social club like a child not on the spectrum has.

That’s when I discovered the answer, a place just down the road here in Wichita. The Heartspring campus on 37th Street had the answers and staff to help calm, assure and walk with parents like me through the journey to advocacy and support us with the resources for children like mine.

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