Walk-A-Mile For Autism Raises Awareness, Promotes Acceptance

Participants complete their mile during the Walk-A-Mile for Autism event last Saturday.

The Clinton County Autism Support Group Walk-A-Mile for Autism proved successful with over 100 participants visiting TPA Park on Saturday for the event.

Participants celebrate an outstanding event.

The Walk-A-Mile for Autism event has been a Frankfort staple since 2015, previously utilizing indoor spaces before the event continued to grow toward the need for an outdoor space for the participants to roam freely and connect while traversing the park for one mile. Organizer Gena Carson commented how the event and its focus on Autism Acceptance Month affects the community as a whole.

“It really is about getting people aware of autism, and really, we are at the point of acceptance,” Carson said. “What does autism mean, and how do we accept each other’s differences?”

Carson continued to state that the events and outreach that the Clinton County Autism Support Group hosts are open to those with autism as well as all members of the community and all individuals with a disability as well. Carson included one of the participants in the conversation where laughs were shared amongst the group, culminating in Carson’s expression that Autism Acceptance Month and inclusive opportunities are a means of connecting with everyone and providing a comforting and engaging experience for everyone in the community.

Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets proclaims April as Autism Awareness Month.

“That’s what it’s all about, accepting people for their differences and their different abilities and their different capabilities,” Carson said. “They’re like everybody else. Everybody wants acceptance. Everybody wants friendships. Everybody wants to be out in the community and recognized and not feared for their differences, and I love that.”

As a kickoff to the event, Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets read a proclamation to declare April as Autism Awareness Month in Frankfort, resulting in a round of applause from the participants of the Walk-A-Mile event.

The proclamation reads:

Whereas, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex, lifelong developmental disability affecting an individual’s ability to communicate, process sensory input and interact with others; and,

Whereas, About 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. The rate of autism has grown steadily over the last twenty years and varies greatly from person to person; and,

Whereas, There is no cure for autism but with early intervention and treatment the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and, in some cases, completely overcome; and,

Whereas, Groups such as the Autism Society of Indiana, the statewide affiliate of the Autism Society, have dedicated years of service in their ongoing efforts to advocate for the rights of all people with autism while seeking to ensure that every individual and every family affected by autism in the State of Indiana receives the high-quality services they deserve; and,

Whereas, the City of Frankfort joins people around the world in recognizing the millions of people living with autism spectrum disorder and the families and professionals who love and support them,

Now, Therefore, Be it resolved that I, Judy Sheets, Mayor of the City of Frankfort, do hereby declare April 2024 as

Autism Awareness Month

Participants bond with other community members before, during and after the walk.

The Clinton County Autism Support Group will be hosting its next event, the Social Circle, on May 15 at TPA Park in the main shelter house to encourage community members with disabilities and family members and loved ones to come together for a time of social bonding in Clinton County with a sack lunch.

“One of the things that came out of our Autism Support Groups is the need to continue this social interaction amongst the autism community and actually get them out and into the community to participate in various activities,” Carson said. “We’ll eat together. We’ll talk together. We’ll talk about other opportunities, where want to go, what we want to do, and see if this is something we want to do once a month or even twice a month. We’re excited about it.”

For more information, visit the Clinton County Autism Support Group Facebook page or contact Gena Carson at 765-650-1220.

More Photos Available On Facebook

Members of the Autism Support Group celebrate the proclamation of Autism Acceptance Month.