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Grand Rapids, MI: Autism 'not a disability'; 'it's an ability'

Mar 20, 2023, WZZM, Grand Rapids, MI: 'Not a disability' | Grand Rapids organization plans event for Autism Awareness Day

 A pair of organizations are working to make sure children affected by autism have a safe and inclusive environment to play and be themselves. That's why they've planned a free event in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.

On April 6, the Better Than Yesterday Foundation will hold the event at the Lifequest Urban Outreach Center, located at 1050 Fisk Road SE in Grand Rapids from 1 to 5 p.m.

"What really just started this is, I have an older son who has autism. He was diagnosed when he was two. A few years ago, I just wanted to do an event for ASD (autism spectrum disorder) kids, for them to just be free and be themselves without judgment," said organizer Sabrina Brooks.

The event will feature food and music along with sensory-friendly play areas, quiet spaces and structured games.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 36 children is affected by autism. Mell Hatchett, who serves as the president of the Better Than Yesterday Foundation, said the cause aligns with the foundation's goals to empower a diverse group of young people to reach their purpose and have a voice in the community.

"It's not a disability. It's an ability. They are capable. They are 'one of us' and they are unique as well. So, I think doing something like this is informational for the community as well," he said.


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