Autism Awareness Month
Advocacy Group Hope For Three Is Spreading Awareness, Action And Acceptance, And Hosting The Annual Family Fun Day April 23
April is Autism Awareness Month and local autism advocacy organization Hope for Three is going to bat for families with “ausome” kids. The 5th Annual Strike Out Autism Family Fun Day Event, presented by Fred and Mable R Parks Foundation, takes place April 23 at Constellation Field during the Sugar Land Skeeters Opening Weekend. Strike Out Autism is part of the Hope For Three Awareness Campaign whereby Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert, all 18 City Mayors, the Sugar Land Skeeters, donors, underwriters, volunteers and the community recognize Autism Awareness Month. The April 23 event is also an opportunity for Hope For Three to host more than 400 autism family members to an afternoon of fun, food and fellowship.
Hope for Three is also hitting the streets to spread the Power of Three: Awareness, Action and Acceptance. Organizers say the Power of Three is a must to help children with autism (1 in 45 school age children are affected) to thrive and live the best life possible.
In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day in perpetuity and the entire month has become April Autism Awareness Month. Hope For Three, founded in 2011, vowed that its first celebration of April Autism Awareness Month in 2012 would reach countywide and beyond.
Today, the organization continues to garner the support of Judge Hebert and all 18 City Mayors, whereby each proclaims the month of April Autism Awareness Month and encourages their city to not only support Hope For Three and its mission, but to join millions around the world to light it up blue by turning their lights blue or wearing blue. “Light it Up Blue” is the Autism Awareness Campaign ignited by Autism Speaks and supported by various autism organizations and advocates worldwide.
“Autism is a very complex disorder,” said Darla Farmer, Founder and Executive Director of Hope For Three. “We recognize for this community to take action and give unconditional acceptance to our autism families, they must be aware and educated about autism spectrum disorder. Among the many ways we bring awareness is through various events such as Car Wash for Kids (4-2-17 at C & C Dental), Strike Out Autism (4-23-17), the Annual Luncheon and Golf Fore Autism, our signature program, It’s Cool to Care, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)and our parent empowerment group, H.O.P.E (Helping Our Parents Excel),” Farmer continued.
Although Autism Awareness Month is recognized worldwide during April, Hope For Three says “it lives its mission 365 days a year.” To date, the organization has provided, with the help of generous donors, grantors and volunteers nearly $500,000 in financial assistance to help bridge the gap between families and autism service providers. Many therapies that are needed for children on the autism spectrum are not covered by insurance. If insurance does cover the cost, it is often with a limited number of sessions. Statistics note it costs more than $60,000 per year to care for a child with autism. There is no cure for autism, but early diagnosis is key.
Autism is the fastest growing children’s disorder, more prevalent that AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined. Many autism families know all too well that autism spectrum disorder is not going away, but it is not a death
sentence. Children on the spectrum may be uniquely different but, not less. Autism acceptance is a crucial component in building relationships, regardless if it is through therapy, education, on the playground, church, store or restaurant. Children with autism want to enjoy and do what other children do and enjoy.
Hope for Three wants everyone to join the Power of Three. Three hundred volunteers are needed to help on Strike Out Autism Family Fun Day. To volunteer, or to RSVP your family living with autism for the event, visit hopeforthree.org/strike-out-autism. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available as well as ticket purchases.
Visit the Hope for Three website for a list of additional events or call 281-245-0640 and find out how you can participate, donate and BE the Difference for children and families living with autism. You can also find valuable parent/family resources and other ways for you to become aware, take action and give acceptance.