Event aims to raise autism awareness

By Chris Bavender

One in every 88 children is affected by autism, according to statistics released in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control. Some will need life-long care that can total $5 to $7 million dollars.

To help raise funds for autism programs in Indiana and to increase autism awareness, Answers for Autism and Talk About Curing Autism will host the second An Evening For Autism from 7 p.m. to midnight Nov. 15 at EventzPlus.

This year’s theme is “Not the Same Old Friday Night!” for an evening of Sinatra and soul, and it will include both a live auction and a silent auction.

“Answers for Autism offers some wonderful grants in the community for public awareness and family support for families with autism,” said Karla Elliott, a volunteer with the group. “Since its inception, Answers for Autism has distributed $594,409.80 in grants with $389,409.80 of that distributed to Indiana programs.”

And the topic is one that hits close to home for Elliott. Her youngest son, Sam, 7, has autism spectrum disorder.

“At the time of his diagnosis, Sam was for most purposes non-verbal, had no ability to meaningfully interact with peers or family and was a terribly sick little boy. We had no idea what we were facing, but the first doctor we saw for an official diagnosis told us we had little hope of our son having a meaningful life, and we would need to be prepared for long-term care in the future,” she said.

“I left that appointment angrier than I had ever been in my life about anything with one overreaching thought in my mind – don’t you dare tell me there is no hope for my child. We refused to accept that we could do nothing to help him get better.”

It was in her search for answers that Elliott found the Talk About Curing Autism Website.

“I reached out to some women who were able to show me that there were resources and treatments that could help my son. And I have never looked back,” Elliott said.

Some of the recent grant awards have been to The Westfield Autism Team to purchase materials and resources to teach social skills to students on the spectrum within the Westfield Washington school system, the Special Olympics of Hamilton County to pay for lessons and student expenses at the Special Olympics competition, and Disability Legal Services of Indiana to fund legal services for families dealing with autism.

Evening For Autism ● EventzPlus ● 7960 Castleway Dr., Indianapolis ● Tickets are $100 per person. ● For more information visit www.answersautism.org or www.tacanow.org/indiana.