MASON CITY, IA – Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in America, that’s according to the group “Autism Speaks”.
That’s why the entire month of April is dedicated to the issue.
Many folks from all over North Iowa are showing their support by participating in an inaugural event, intended to raise awareness about autism.
“I couldn’t be happier,” says organizer J. Brooks.
He had no idea what to expect, but is overwhelmed by the support.
“When we first started, I said you know we could have 10 people for the first ever walk a block or we could have 200 and I have no idea what the count is. Probably more than 200, I don’t know,” he says.
Many local families who are affected by autism are here. One family in particular brought a big crowd, the family of little Briggs Ascher.
He was not born with symptoms of autism; rather his family watched him slowly digress in his speech and learning.
“It was hard because it was very hard to see where he was and just to kind of watch him fall into the autism,” says mother Emily Ascher.
For families like the Aschers, it is heartwarming to see the number of people who care.
“When it involves kids, especially autism, the support of the community I’ve seen since everything got started over in ClearLake with the autism center is just remarkable what they’ve done,” adds Brooks.
He and Christina Maulsby say, with this kind of turnout, this is no doubt going to be an annual event.
If you are driving past central park in Mason City, you’ll notice it is lit up blue and will be throughout the month of April. But it’s important to remember that those with autism deal with the disability, not just for one month out of the year, but all 12.
If you want to learn more about the disability, and how to recognize it earlier in infants, here is a link to the National Autism Association: http://nationalautismassociation.org/