Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of participants last June during the annual Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Photo by John Murray

   Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism advocacy organization, is announcing the first 2013 Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kickoff event is scheduled for March 27, 2013.  The informational event will take place at the CoCo Key Water Resort Hotel & Convention Center, 3580 East Main Street, Waterbury, Conn. from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

   This motivational event is free to any individual interested in participating in the 4th Annual Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks.  The kick-off event gives family and corporate teams a chance to network, meet the Walk committee and Autism Speaks staff, and get tools and tips for successful fundraising.  Attendees will also have a chance to hear from Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary.

   On June 1, 2013, thousands of walkers – including individuals with autism, their families, and friends – will join together to raise much-needed funds for critical scientific research, advocacy efforts, family services and to increase awareness about autism spectrum disorder, which is now diagnosed in 1 in 88 children, at the 4th annual Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks. All proceeds from the event support the local and national work of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.

   Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a unique fundraising event, which creates a safe and fun day for families who are impacted by autism. The day includes a two mile Walk and a Community Resource fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities, a true “one-stop-shop” for families affected by autism.

   If your family or someone you know is struggling with an autism diagnosis, if you’re a seasoned Walk Now participant, or if you just want to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, this event is for you.

   RSVP by March 20th to lea.hadley@autismspeaks.org

   To register for the 2013 Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks, please visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/gww.

   For the sixth straight year, Toys”R”Us® and Babies”R”Us® proudly serves as the North American sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Local sponsors are welcomed.

   Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis. For more information about the Greater Waterbury Walk Now for Autism Speaks, please email greaterwaterbury@autismspeaks.org  or call Lauren at 203.200.8450.