Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the nation. In fact, research by Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, shows that autism now affects 1 in 88 children in the United States.
In an effort to raise awareness and honor local children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the first Hodgeman County Autism Rally has been planned for April 6 at Hodgeman County High School. All of the funds raised at the rally will be offered to area children with ASD to be used for college scholarships, camp tuition, or learning and developmental programs and opportunities.
ASD and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development, as defined by Autism Speaks. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder.
The Hodgeman County Autism Rally will begin at 9 a.m. with a "Puzzle Walk/Run." According to the Autism Speaks website, the puzzle piece symbol reflects the mystery and complexity of ASD on a nationwide level, hence the name "Puzzle Walk/Run." Before the event begins, participants are asked to buy one puzzle piece per lap around the high school track they plan to complete. After each runner or walker completes a lap, they will drop their puzzle piece in a bucket at the starting line. Puzzle pieces are $1 each.
A golf tournament is also scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Cheyenne Hills Golf Course in Jetmore. The tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. and is a two-person scramble. There is a $50 entry fee per team which includes a meal. Mulligans will also be available for $5, but are limited to two per player. Pre-registration is recommended. Call Derek at (620) 682-5833 to sign up.
From 10 to 11:30 a.m., indoor information centers and outdoor activities will be set up. There will be field games and a trail walk as well as vendor booths and fun stations for kids.
The day will conclude with a "Puzzle Relay." Participants have the choice to walk or run during the relay. The set-up will be similar to that of earlier run/walk, with puzzle pieces purchased for $1 and dropped in a bucket at the starting line, but with puzzle pieces dispersed between team members.
After the completion of the relay, lunch will be available.
The Hodgeman County Autism Rally coincides with the beginning of April which is Autism Awareness Month. Attendees are asked to wear blue to support autism awareness. Children with ASD who attend the rally will receive a free t-shirt.
For more information visit the event's Facebook page, "HC Autism Rally."
IF YOU GO
What: Hodgeman County Autism Rally
When: Sat. April 6, beginning at 9 a.m.
Page 2 of 2 - Where: Hodgeman County High School and Cheyenne Hills Golf Course in Jetmore
Schedule of events
9 a.m.- Puzzle walk/run begins, golf tournament begins
10 - 11:30 a.m.- Indoor centers open, outdoor activities begin
11:30 a.m.- Bubble huddle
12 p.m. Puzzle walk/run relay