Local support group to hold annual autism walk to raise funds

COVINGTON - In hopes of raising community awareness about autism and money to help families with autistic children, a local support group is holding a walk on Saturday.

Called "Autism: Let's Walk About It," the event is hosted by Family and Friends of Children with Autism Support Group, which holds bi-monthly meetings and supports more than 40 families with autistic children in the Newton/Rockdale area.

The group holds a walk annually to raise money to fund activities for the children.

Last year, the funds helped pay for children to attend swim and karate camps. This year, the money will also pay for an overnight trip to Cordele, where the children will ride a locomotive, said Glenda Gaither, founder and coordinator of the support group.

Registration for the walk will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Ficquett Elementary School gym at 2207 Williams St.

A special program will begin at 10 a.m., featuring a presentation by Karate Kan, a karate school in Conyers, along with a speech by a psychologist from Emory University.

"The speaker will overview autism and give some insight on behaviors so people will know the difference between children having autism and not being able to help their behavior as opposed to children just acting out," Gaither said.

The walk begins at 11 a.m. at the Ficquett gym. Walkers will head to Pace Street, around the Square in downtown Covington, down Floyd Street, then on to Anderson Street and back to the gym.

More than 200 people attended last year's event, and organizers are hoping to have at least 300 this year, Gaither said.

There will also be a talent show and food available at the event.

Registration is $15 and includes a T-shirt while supplies last.

Gaither encouraged everyone in the community to come out and show support.

"If they're not affected by autism directly, they will be in some type of setting: church, school, grocery stores. Out in the public at some point in time, they will come in contact with autism because it's growing so fast," she said.

Friends and Family of Children with Autism Support Group meets the third Tuesday of every other month at Washington Street Community Center.

For more information, call Gaither at 770-362-9540.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: "Autism: Let's Walk About It" event

· When: Registrations begins at 9 a.m. Saturday; walk begins at 11 a.m.

· Where: Ficquett Elementary School gym

· Cost: $15

· More info: Call Glenda Gaither at 770-362-9540