The Autism Society of Southern Arizona will host the 14th Annual Autism Walk & Resource Fair on Saturday, April 4, in Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium at Kino Park Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, Arizona. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk and Resource Fair is from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Autism Walk & Resource Fair offers a fun and informative day filled with food trucks, entertainment, children’s activities, an autism community resource fair, and much more. This event is designed to provide a wealth of information to individuals and families affected by autism and to help educate and raise awareness of this prevalent disorder.

The Tucson Sugar Skulls indoor football team will lead walkers on a 1.3-mile walk. Activities include the Center for Neurosciences “Brain Bus” and a Zen Zone that provides and quiet place for children. The University of Arizona Pomline will greet walkers as they cross the finish line.

The entire community is invited to join the Autism Society of Southern Arizona as they strive to improve the lives of all affected by autism. The Autism Society encourages all to participate in southern Arizona’s largest autism event by registering, forming a walk team, attending the resource fair and/or making a tax-deductible donation. All funds raised stay in southern Arizona to support the community.

Premiere Retirement Planning & Wealth Management returns as the title sponsor. “We are really excited to be able to show our love and support for the autism community here in Tucson. My youngest daughter, Megan, has autism, and I know how important it is for families affected by autism to have adequate support and resources available to help them on the journey of raising these special children. As a local business owner, I am proud to give back to my community by supporting a cause that means so much to me personally.” Jeff P. Vogan, RFC, CEP President/CEO of Premiere Retirement Planning & Wealth Management (premret.com).

We are proud to have Tucson ER & Hospital on board as the Presenting Sponsor and Helping Hands Behavioral Therapy, Tucson Electric Power and Tucson Federal Credit Union as our Gold Sponsors.

“Tucson ER & Hospital is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the walk and to partner with the Autism Society of Southern Arizona,” said Nary Vang, Director of Marketing for Tucson ER & Hospital. “We understand the unique challenges that autism poses, which is why we are proud to have a sensory friendly facility that caters to the care of our patients. Everyone in Tucson should have a place where they can go to receive the resources, they need to get the care that they deserve. We’re glad that the Autism Society of Southern Arizona is there to provide answers and resources to those who need it — especially since the symptoms of Autism aren’t always evident and how to get started with care isn’t always easy to navigate. We’re so glad that they’re out there making a difference in so many lives and affecting so many in such a positive way. We’re honored to be their partners and to be able to provide resources to assist in any way we can.”

“The gap this event fills in our community is unparalleled,” said Melissa McIntosh, MA, BCBA, owner of Helping Hands Behavior Therapy. “As a new business, we are so grateful to be a part of the support for local individuals and families. Collaboration amplifies the education and services available, so partnering with the Autism Society of Southern Arizona was a natural fit for us.”

“Tucson Electric Power is proud to support this event, which offers a great opportunity for families affected by autism to connect with local service providers who can help address their unique needs,” said Joe Salkowski, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Tucson Electric Power. “It’s also great to see how the community comes together to support and celebrate the children who face these challenges.”

The Autism Society welcomes the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office as the Education Sponsor and Superintendent Dustin Williams as our Walk Celebrity Spokesperson.

“As a parent of a child with autism, I can speak first-hand about the need for strong community support, particularly with finding resources for my child. The Autism Society of Southern Arizona is that support. I am humbled and honored to announce our newly launched partnership with ASSA. Our goal is to increase awareness about this resource so that families across Pima County can benefit from it,” said Dustin J. Williams, Pima County School superintendent.

We are joining forces with Banner University Health Plans, our new sustaining partner of our Family Navigation Program. We are excited to offer our services to their members and have them participate in this year’s Autism Walk.

Arizona Lotus radio group (96.1 KLPX, Rock KFMA 102.1, La Caliente 92.1 KCMT, La Buena 94.3 KTKT. 94.9 MIXfm KMXZ and ESPN Tucson 104.9FM KFFN), Univision Arizona, UniMás Arizona, Arizona Bilingual News, Tucson Local Media, Cox and Comcast are our event media sponsors.

The nonprofit business Print & Stitch is the official apparel provider for this year’s Autism Walk. Print & Stitch is a nonprofit apparel customization business. Walk teams are invited to order their custom shirt, hat or other items at printandstitch.com.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. According to information published by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) (May 2018), autism now affects 1 in 71 children in Arizona. With no known cure, early detection and intervention are essential to help children with autism and their families get the help they need. The Autism Society is the leading voice and resource for the entire autism community in education, advocacy, services, and support.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:00 a.m. For more information regarding registering, sponsoring or volunteering for this event, or to make a donation, please visit our website at www.as-az.org or call the Autism Society of Southern Arizona at (520) 770-1541.

Submitted by Ray Frieders

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