Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 27, 2009

Autism Walk 2009 raised $4,427 in Auburn/Opelika!

The Walk for Autism 2009, sponsored by The Autism Society of Alabama, was held Saturday, Apr. 25, at the Monkey Park in Opelika.  Trophies were presented to Andrew Kooken of Troy, AL for coming in first at the walk with the help of his sister Shelby; Kim Smith of The Little Tree who had the largest team and Annie Stevenson who was the top fundraiser, raising a total of $458.00.   The Auburn/Opelika Autism Walk raised a total of $4,427.

In addition to the walk, kids enjoyed riding the train, blowing bubbles, making crafts and playing on the playground.  Door prizes were given away, including a Zune donated by Etherton Family Dentistry, a face lift massage donated by Aromatherapy and Massage Center, and gift certificates from Envy Salon and Niffer’s.  Jones Computing Services paid for the train to operate during the walk.  Dean & Barrett Law Firm and Twin City Wholesale donated bottled water and snacks and Chick-Fil-A at Tiger Town and Niffer’s in Auburn donated chicken biscuits, chicken fingers and wings.  Associates from Kohl’s were on hand to help with the crafts and other children’s activities and volunteers from the Auburn University Autism Center were on hand to help with registration and other tasks.  Alpha Xi Delta from Auburn University gave away Build a Bears to the children.  Mammoth Printshop donated specially designed t-shirts to give away.

Proceeds from the event directly benefit the Autism Society of Alabama which provides programs, resources and services for Alabama’s kids and their families who are living with autism and asperger syndrome. 

Autism, a complex neurobiological disorder, is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  Sixty-seven children are diagnosed every day, a new case almost every 20 minutes.  Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade and receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.

Thanks to the grassroots support of the people in the state of Alabama, the Autism Society of Alabama has been able to implement and enhance several programs this past year, including providing an annual Fall Camp experience for families at Camp ASCCA; providing an Information and Referral Coordinator and on-line support from their website; providing reference books to families who have received a new diagnosis; conducting Handwriting Without Tears workshops for teachers and therapists statewide and providing First Signs screening kits to pediatricians statewide to reduce the age at which children are first identified.

The Autism Society is a non profit 501 c3 and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.  For more information, call 877-428-8416 or visit


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