The Autism Society’s regional office in Laurinburg plans to use Autism Awareness Month to its advantage by hosting a variety of special events, fundraisers, and informational sessions.
“Autism awareness month is about helping people to understand the needs of autistic children and raising awareness of autism spectrum disorder,” said Mechell Vasquez.
The local autism society will host a golf tournament on April 21 at Deercroft. The tournament, a four-man’s Captain’s Choice, will begin at 9 a.m. The cost to play will be $50, and the proceeds will be directed toward the society’s summer program for autistic children and youth.
“We’re doing it to raise money for our summer enhancement program for children ages five to 18 with autism,” said Stephanie Lowery. “It’s a two week program that we hold every summer.”
The autism society’s members will also step outside of their office throughout April to reach out to other parents with autistic children as well as the community at large.
“It’s really about educating the parents and overall education; knowing what to look for in your children, knowing how to help them, knowing how to go forward with the IEPs,” said Becky Wilcoxen. “Just helping them with school issues and home issues and everything else.”
“This is where we do a lot of educating the community on autism, about what autism is and what autism is not,” added Essie Davis, a parent advocate at the Autism Society’s regional office. “It gives us an opportunity during this month because we sponsor events where we recruit and meet other parents we don’t know who are in our community. We have the opportunity to invite them to be part of the chapter.”
The local Autism Society chapter will also host an Easter egg hunt on April 11 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Market Park. Parents are encouraged to bring not only their children with autism, but also non-autistic siblings and friends.
Autism awareness month gives local Autism Society chapters an opportunity to intensify everyday efforts. The Laurinburg Autism Society office will host an individualized education plan (IEP) workshop on April 16 at 6:30 p.m.
“All year long, being a parent advocate, my job is working with parents and talking to them about the specific needs of their child, or getting them referrals, or educating them on the laws that refer to individuals with disabilities such as autism,” Davis said. “This is an all-year thing, but we take this month, April, to really be busy and get it out there what autism is.”
Those interested in signing up to play in the Autism Society golf tournament should contact Stephanie Lowery at 318-1575. Parents interested in attending the Easter egg hunt or IEP seminar should contact the Autism Society office at 277-2887 or Nettie Green at 462-0202.