By Lora Scripps
In about the time it takes to boil a saucepan of water, read one chapter of a book, or take a shower — a child with autism is born.
Studies estimate that every 11 minutes a family finds out their child has the complex brain disorder that can inhibit abilities to communicate and develop social relationships.
For families dealing with the disorder every day is a battle.
Todd Tomerlin and his wife Tammy of East Limestone believe it is a battle that can be won.
The Tomerlins’ 13-year-old son Gage was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at age two.
Since that time, both have worked tirelessly to educate the public about autism as well as provide Gage with the highest quality of life.
The Tomerlins started the group, Fitting the Pieces, a parent-led support group for family members with loved ones diagnosed with autism. The Autism Society of Alabama supports the group, which meets the first Thursday of every month at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church.
Todd has also been busy helping Therese Chinavare, Jennifer Hosner and others at Family Security Credit Union plan the Autism Society of Alabama Walk for Autism in Athens.
The rain or shine event will include a 2-mile walk Saturday, April 13, at Golden Eagle Stadium on the campus of Athens High School. The walk is noncompetitive and participants are welcome to bring strollers and wagons for youth participants.
Activities for kids and adults are also on tap for Autism Walk and include a bubble creation station, face painting, bounce houses, kids activity center, food vendors, resource exhibitors, prizes for kids and family fun.
Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. The cost to preregister is $30 and includes a T-shirt. The cost is $35 day of walk.
Proceeds from the walk will benefit Autism Society of Alabama, whose mission is to improve services for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum disorder through education, advocacy, conferences, seminars and family camps.
“We are trying to make this an annual event,” Todd said. “We are asking people to come out and show their support. At this point, just about everybody is affected by autism in one way or another.”
To register, visit walkforautismAL.com or call 1-877-4AUTISM.
To find out more about Fitting the Pieces, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gold sponsors for the Walk for Autism in Athens are Family Security Credit Union, All Star Plumbers, Steelcase, Federal Mogul, Athens-Limestone Hospital, CDPA Certified Public Accountants and DanTera Salon and Spa.
Other sponsors include Quiznos, Roosters, K-May Donuts, Suzanne’s Bakery & Eatery, Picasso’s Grill, Starbucks, Golden Tan, Event Rental Pros, Nestle Tollhouse Café and Walmart.