First Ever March for Autism Awareness Held at Lief Erickson Park

By KBJR News 1

April 1, 2012 Updated Apr 1, 2012 at 9:44 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The local Autism Association of Northern Minnesota gathered at Leif Erickson Park Sunday afternoon.

The group got together for their first ever Autism March for Awareness...hoping to bring attention to not just the children diagnosed with autism, but their families as well.

"We are gathering here today to show people in the north-land that's there is several families living with autism and several individuals living with autism and that's what today is all about", said Dena Filipovich one of the march's organizers.

The newest numbers released show that more and more kids are being identified as having an autism spectrum disorder.

"Every one in eighty eight children is diagnosed with autism, and the number continues to grow and there is no answers. People don't realize that it's not just a number. It's connected to something much bigger and it affects everybody" (said Filipovich).

The estimated cost of raising a child with autism to the age of 22 is over $500,000; however with the number of children being diagnosed with autism rising that price is suspected to go up.

"Eventually these kids are going to grow, and there going to be in the world, and it's very expensive it's not going to be cheap" (said Filipovich).

"A lot of times we'll see when times get tough financially...people with disabilities are impacted significantly more then people without with budget cuts", commented Laura Birnbaum-Singler the ARC Director of Adcovacy.

With so many obstacles in the way of finding out an answer to why this disease is becoming so prominent...officials with the Autism Association of Northern Minnesota say education for everyone is key.

"Education is so important, and early intervention is so important, and I think everybody can take part in awareness and helping, and supporting" (said Filipovich).

Tomorrow at noon Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton will give a speech at Autism Awareness Rally and Resources Fair held at the capitol.

Written by Shawn Frost
Posted on Web by Shawn Frost
sfrost@northlandsnewscenter.com