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Gloucester County Ready to Walk for Autism Research Dates for the Second Annual Walk and the Kick-Off Dinner are Set!

The 2006 Gloucester County Walk for Autism Research will be held at the RiverWinds Community Center in Thorofare on Saturday, September 30th. Registration starts at 10:00 AM and the walk begins at 11:30 AM.  Family fun, lots of food and autism related vendors will be a part of the walk day event.

Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney said, “The Walk for Autism Research is an opportunity to support a worthwhile cause and to provide Gloucester County with a better appreciation and sensitivity for the children with autism and the families and friends that care for them.  We have a tremendous group of people in Gloucester County committed to raising funds for Autism research and we are letting everyone know early enough to mark their calendars for the September 30th walk,” Director Sweeney stated.

The Kick-Off Dinner for the annual walk is set for Tuesday, July 11th at the RiverWinds Community Center in Thorofare from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  The food and refreshments will be provided by Auletto's Catering.  The dinner is by invitation to registered team captains and team members and promises to be a fun and motivating event. 

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.  Thirteen years ago, only 1 child in 10,000 was diagnosed with autism.  Today, that rate has soared to 1 in 166.  Despite this prevalence, research shows that many parents of young children are generally unaware of autism. Because there is currently no cure for autism and no effective means to prevent it, early detection is the crucial first step in helping children with autism.  With appropriate early-intervention services, from ages 3-5, between 20% and 50% of children diagnosed with autism will be able to attend mainstream kindergarten.

“The first Gloucester County Walk for Autism Research was held last September surpassing its goal of raising $100,000 for autism research,” stated Freeholder Deputy Director Bob Damminger. 

Damminger his own team, Team Kimberly, and is leading the charge for the county effort for the walk.  “We want to raise more money this year and make 2006 a great success for our Autism community.  Many of our residents are affected by Autism and we are determined to help raise money for research by getting the community involved in the walk.  The county has a team and last year several departments had a friendly competition to see who could raise the most money for the walk, and I am confident the employees are going to raise even more this year ,” Damminger said.
The Freeholders noted that Gloucester County is currently constructing a school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Bankbridge Development Center, which will be operated by the Gloucester County Special Services School District, will serve up to 200 multiply disabled students with a focus on Autism from pre-school age to age 21.  The 52,016 square foot school will have 20 classrooms and is being built on the campus of Gloucester County College.
For more information, visit the website at www.autismwalk.org/gcnj, or call the Greater Delaware Valley Regional Office of Autism Speaks at 856-755-0330.