Monday, June 01, 2020
65.0°F

Walk for Autism Acceptance moves to Sept. 13

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | May 23, 2020 1:01 AM

Panhandle Autism Society hosting online fundraiser through June 7

Everyone's schedules have been disrupted during this chaotic time of pandemic, especially individuals with autism who rely on routines to get through the day.

"For people with autism, one of the symptoms is that routine is very important," Panhandle Autism Society Board President Jennifer Cork said Friday. "A lot of therapies have been canceled or switched to telehealth. I've been doing telehealth with my clients and it's just not the same."

Cork, who is a mental health therapist with Big Lake Psychological Services in Coeur d'Alene, said the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all of PAS' events that were planned for April, which is Autism Awareness Month, as well as the 10th annual Walk for Autism Acceptance originally set for June 13.

"Along with everyone else, all of our plans just got undone," Cork said.

However, the nonprofit itself hasn't gone anywhere, and PAS has rescheduled the 2020 Walk for Autism Acceptance for 10 a.m. Sept. 13.

"We're still here. We're still thinking of our community," she said.

The walk will be more of a parade along Sherman Avenue, she explained, rather than have an event where people will be crowded and lingering.

"It's our 10th walk, we had big plans," Cork said. "We still want to do our celebration theme, we still want to celebrate people with autism. Diversity makes the world a better place."

More than 800 people attended the 2019 event. It brought in more than $15,000 that allowed PAS to distribute about 50 micro-grants.

Proceeds from the walk support the nonprofit by covering overhead costs and providing money for the micro-grants, which give families with individuals with autism opportunities to purchase items not covered by insurance.

"Families need that more than usual right now," Cork said.

PAS is hosting an online fundraiser. The campaign will go through June 7. The goal is $10,000.

As of Friday afternoon, $690 had been raised for the grant fundraiser. Visit bit.ly/2XpnWjV to donate.

Those interested just need to apply for the grants, which will be eligible for anyone with autism in the five northern counties, Cork said. Visit www.panhandleautismsociety.com for information.

"Any money PAS gets, that full amount will go to the families and people with autism," she said.

photo

Cork