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Autism Ontario wanted people to walk with them Saturday morning.
With October being Autism Awareness month, the group wanted to help raise the profile on a disorder that effects up to 500 people in Thunder Bay.
“This event is not about raising funds there’s not a race involved it’s just about raising awareness about those in our community who live with autism spectrum disorder,” Walk with Me spokesperson Michelle Murdoch-Gibson said.
And it appears to have worked as more than 200 people took up the challenge at Boulevard Lake. Autism involves disorders within behaviour, communication and socialization.
“We just think it’s important that the people in the community understand how that can impact someone’s development,” Murdoch-Gibson said. “You might see a number of kids who display behavioural difficulties and that might be directly related to some of the other challenges associated with a disorder like communication.”
While initiatives are shedding light on Autism so people can understand it, there are still challenges. A child may excel academically but have trouble socially, which can lead to problems with misconceptions and misunderstanding Murdoch-Gibson said.
“Unfortunately there are some kids who are still bullied for some of the differences.”
Still, compared to even 20 years ago, she is seeing a big improvement.
“We’re moving toward an integrated community where everyone’s accepted despite some of the challenges they might face.”
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