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Go Ask Mom

Run/walk supports, promotes opportunities for those with autism

Posted September 23, 2013

Today, one out of every 70 children born in North Carolina has autism. Here in the Triangle, the incidence rate is even higher.

The Autism Society of North Carolina shared those numbers with me the other day. But I didn't need to see them to know that there are a lot of families living with autism these days.

I know it just from meeting children that my own kids play with at school or on the playground or at a local museum. I see it on all of those awareness bumper stickers dotting the shopping mall parking lots. And I hear it from my sister, who started her career working with children with autism here in North Carolina and now in Alaska.

Many of us may know what autism looks like ... or at least have an idea. It's the child flailing his arms, the tween who won't make eye contact, the preschooler who won't say a word. But it takes on so many more forms. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the society, is a group of developmental disabilities that affect a person's ability to understand what they see, hear and sense. It is a brain disorder that impacts communication, social interaction and behavior. 

"Individuals with autism typically have difficulty understanding verbal and nonverbal communication and learning appropriate ways of relating to other people, objects, and events," according to the society. "Autism affects individuals differently and with varying degrees of severity. ASD is typically diagnosed in children, but it is a lifelong disorder."

To help those kids and families, the Autism Society, which raises money to provide support and promote opportunities for the more than 60,000 people in North Carolina affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, is gearing up for its annual Triangle Run/Walk. All money that the society raises stays right here in our state. 

On Oct. 12, thousands of runners and walkers will meet in downtown Raleigh for the 15th annual Triangle Run/Walk for Autism. The event starts at 9 a.m. in Moore Square across from Marbles Kids Museum. The event includes a USATF-certified 5K race; a 5K noncompetitive run; a recreational one-mile run/walk; and a kids' dash. You'll also find a family-friendly festival with a fun zone, music, food and vendors, along with information from local businesses, service providers, support resources and sponsors.

For more information, go to www.trianglerunwalkforautism.org or call 800-442-2762, ext. 1101, to register, join a team, form a team, sponsor, donate, or volunteer.

And stay tuned for more on Go Ask Mom. We'll share the story of a local mom whose child has autism and offer more information about the disorder courtesy of the Autism Society.

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