FAAN sponsors bouncy event

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Families Advocating Autism Now is hosting a bounce event at Bounce-A-Palooza at the Bayshore Mall on Nov. 10 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The mall will be closed so use the back entrance to Bounce-A-Palooza.

The event is free and open to individuals with ASD and their immediate family. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention defines ASD as, "Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges." For more information on ASD from the CDC visit their webpage at www.cdc.gov.

"One of the difficult parts of raising a child with autism is taking them on public outings," Emily Lewis, co-founder of FAAN and mother of a child with ASD, said. "We do these bounce, skating and movie events to give children and their families the chance to experience these outings in a closed and controlled environment."

It is hard to understand something like autism unless you are involved personally with those who have ASD. Parents who have children with autism often struggle with how to continue life as normal and provide a sense of normalcy to their children who are people just like the rest of us, but have a disability.

"Many parents of children diagnosed with autism feel isolated when it comes to taking their children out to public places. Some parents fear that public places could be too overwhelming for their children and they prefer to avoid them at most," Lewis said.

It is for that reason that FAAN has created events for individuals with autism and their immediate families.

"Other parents may fear the stares and whispers their child's autistic behaviors may attract," Lewis said. "At our events, the children are surrounded by others just like them and if one is having a meltdown, sensory overload or social anxiety, they feel more comfortable being surrounded by no one judging them."

FAAN works to spread awareness and increase acceptance of those individuals with autism and other disabilities as just that -- individuals.

"Parents feel more at ease and able to mingle and interact with other parents dealing with the same issues during these events," Lewis said.

For more information about FAAN, autism, or this event, contact Emily Lewis at 499-0741, lewisemmi@yahoo.com, or visit the website at www.families-advocating-autism-now.com.