April is World Autism Month, and Seattle fosters a thriving community of support for children and families living with special needs.
Many of us have heard of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or may know someone with it and also know that research has found that autism is on the rise since 2000. Some focus on research can minimize the challenges that come with autism, that those living with autism should be “cured.” As advocate Daniel Burkhalter told me, it “distracts us from what we need to be doing — figuring out how to help autistic people lead better, happier lives, as independently as we can.”
Below are a few resources and events happening, should you be looking for some help or even just community with well-versed, supportive people.
All in for Autism 2018 is a 5-10K run and walk on Sunday, April 29, in Bellevue’s Downtown Park, next to Bellevue Square Mall. It is accessible via Sound Transit 550 and Metro 234, 240, 532 and 535.
Participants are invited to peruse the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club-sponsored “Race Village” where participants can check out vendors and sponsors, often great organizations and outlets to resources for families and children with autism.
A event similar to this took place at the Kirkland waterfront, featuring a vendor with specialized bicycles and other pedal-based transportation on April 7.
Bellevue’s run and walk will raise money for research, programs and access enrichment for families and children with autism. The event starts with a 6:45 a.m. check-in, an 8 a.m. 10K run and then a 5K run/walk at 8:20 a.m., followed by a 9:45 a.m. kids’ dash. For more information, visit allinforautism.org.
Tacoma is hosting a great summer day camp, “Adapt to Achieve” Youth Day Camp, for youth with physical disabilities/visual impairment, ages 5 to 18, with age-to-age specific weekends, coming this July. It is put on by Metro Parks of Tacoma. These camps will feature kayaking, goalball, sitting volleyball, wheelchair ball, archery, cycling and many more.
Sessions for ages 5 to 11 begin July 9 and continue through July 12. A second session for ages 11 to 18 will begin July 23 and continue until July 27.
All levels of ability and experience are encouraged to attend. The theme will be building friendships and self-confidence.
It takes place at South Tacoma’s STAR Center at 3873 S. 66th St. It is accessible by Pierce Transit 53 and from the South Tacoma Station. For more information, contact Karli Schwimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
For even more events, programs and resources around autism and other developmental disabilities, please see Seattle Children’s Center for Children with Special Needs.
Gui Jean-Paul Chevalier is a Seattle-based recording artist and author from rural Washington, living counter-small-town mind for the cause of humanity. Read previous columns from Gui.
Wait, there's more. Check out the full April 18 - April 24 issue.