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Tribal members, employees join autism walk in Sunrise

SUNRISE — The world has become accustomed to the idea of charities, donations, and fundraisers that support a cause, and along with raising money to help people with diseases and disorders come the numerous events that take place in the name of goodwill.

The Autism Speaks Walk is an annual fundraising event that uses the donations it gains to support research and generally improve the lives of autistic people. The event is held each year in multiple cities throughout the nation. This year a walk was held in Sunrise on Sept. 29 at the BB&T Center. The walk itself was less than a mile long and circled through the arena’s parking lot. Hundreds of people showed up to support friends and loved ones. More than 20 Tribal members and Tribal employees attended the walk. According to the Walk’s website, about $205,000 was raised, just shy of its goal of $210,000.

Tribal members and employees walk to support autism awareness during the Autism Speaks Walk on Oct. 20 at BB&T Center in Sunrise. (Photo Derrick Tiger)

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental impairment with various characteristics. People who are diagnosed with ASD suffer from a lack of performing essential functions such as social skills, verbal communication, and basic cognitive abilities. Not every person with autism will have the same symptoms because it is a broad spectrum. Other challenges that an autistic person may struggle with are sensory issues, intestinal complications, and repetitive and/or regressive behavior. How much a person is affected by ASD can range from mild to severe. There is no clear answer as to what causes ASD, and there is no known cure.

Over the years diagnoses for autism have increased, particularly among children, because diagnoses for ASD can be done by age two, but signs can be identified as early as 18 months. Some people have been diagnosed at an older age. Again, it all depends on the severity of the person’s disorder. An autistic child could look as though they have absolutely nothing wrong with them, and they would possibly go through most of their childhood without being properly diagnosed. On the other hand some children will show apparent signs and symptoms. The ultimate challenge with either case is learning how to communicate.

Team Meadow Tiger takes a group picture with the Seminole Tribe of Florida team Sept. 29 at the Autism Speaks Walk in Sunrise. (Photo Derrick Tiger)

Children on the spectrum do, however, develop learning and routine habits. Treatments such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy can be vital solutions in helping an autistic child make significant progress in their development. These are not exact solutions because what works for one autistic child might not be what’s best for another. Navigating the spectrum is a lifelong process which requires patience, understanding, and dedication. Children with autism do grow up and live fulfilling lives. Even those who suffer from extreme cases of ASD manage to deal with their disorder from day to day.

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