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Learn, network, have fun: Autism Society of QC hosting Autism Acceptance Walk this weekend

The walk Saturday in East Moline is a way to rally behind those impacted by autism, promote acceptance and educate others about it.

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — The Autism Society of the Quad Cities will ring in the end of Autism Acceptance Month with its 2022 Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday morning, April 30. 

According to event organizers, the walk is a way to rally behind those impacted by autism, promote acceptance and educate others about it. The event will include many activities for those of all ages, including face painting, music, games and prizes.

This year's walk will be the first the society has hosted since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"If COVID taught us anything, it's that ... personal connections are extremely important," Autism Society of the Quad Cities President Barrett Essman said. "(The walk) is an opportunity for individuals (and) families within our community to get together to network, to share stories and - most importantly - have a lot of fun."

Instead of using the word "awareness" with autism, the organization is pushing for people to use the term "acceptance" to create a message of inclusivity.

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"The most important thing is that it's to celebrate the differences," Essman said. "If you've met one individual with autism, you just met one individual. No one person is the same."

The walk is open to the public and will begin rain or shine at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Black Hawk Special Education Center, located at 4580 11th St. in East Moline.

The society will also host a community education meeting on autism in May. The date and location of the event were not yet decided as of Friday, April 29.

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