Free Events Celebrate Autism in April

traverse traveler logoFamilies living with autism and community members who seek to understand more about autism spectrum disorder can look forward to several free events set for this April, Autism Awareness Month.

  • April 15: Empowerment in Inclusion, 7 p.m. Traverse Area District Library Woodmere branch, McGuire Room. Free seminar presented by the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Michigan. Autism parents are invited to attend. Discussion will focus on Least Restrictive Environment and forming a collaborative IEP team with school officials. This meeting will be held in lieu of ARN’s monthly parent meeting.
  • April 21: How To Dance In Ohio – free film, 6 p.m., State Theatre  All community members are invited to this free screening of the 2015 documentary, a hit on the film festival circuit, chronicling high school students in Columbus, Ohio, as they prepare to attend a spring formal dance. Scheduled for release on HBO this fall, get a first look thanks to The State.
  • April 24: Light up the Lanes at Lucky Jack’s: 4-7 p.m.  Families of children with autism can enjoy free bowling, treats, games and activities at Lucky Jack’s, 1705 Garfield Ave., Traverse City. The eight-lane, private 300 Club at Lucky Jack’s as well as the adjacent party room will be reserved for this special event thanks to Lucky Jack’s.
  • April 25: Sensory-friendly screening of Rio 2, 10:30 a.m., Bijou by the Bay. 25 cents. Sound and light levels will be moderated for this matinee showing.

This is the second year in a row multiple organizations have collaborated to present Autism Awareness events in April. In addition to the venues and organizations above, presenters include the Northwest Michigan Autism Resource Network (ARN), a support group for parents of children with autism, and Traverse Traveler, which raised more than $25,000 between 2012-14 to purchase iPads for students with autism in Traverse City Area Public Schools. ARN offers monthly parent support group meetings held the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Munson Medical Center, room 12 (lower level). The next regular meeting will be held May 20.

Autism spectrum disorder, a neurological condition marked by impaired communication and social skills and repetitive behaviors, is estimated to affect one in 68 children.

For more information about the upcoming events, contact Brandy Wheeler at 231.313.6633.

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