Arkansas Autism Foundation schedules special activities

The month of April is significant to the autism community as international attention is given to raising autism awareness and cultivating inclusion The Arkansas Autism Foundation, a newly founded local nonprofit organization, is offering programs, resources and special events to help individuals on the autism spectrum and their families in Arkansas.

The foundation is kicking off its special events with its second Autism Festival and Walk on Saturday, March 31. Runners and walkers of all ages can participate in this free event, which will be held at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the event, there will be a balloon release in memory of Tyler Dannaway who was an advocate for himself and others living on the autism spectrum. In addition, the event will feature a family-friendly festival with entertainment, food, refreshments and sensory friendly activities, including an Easter egg hunt and mobile video game station. Businesses, service providers, local support resources and sponsors will also be showcased at the festival. To register for the event, visit

On Monday, April 23, Arkansas Autism Foundation is teaming up with Arkansas Travelers to bring awareness to the community at Autism Awareness Night from 5 to 7:10 p.m. at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. Attendees will experience the game like never before with a Field of Dreams, where children on the autism spectrum can run onto the field for a pre-game ceremony. There will also be a special section where guests can enjoy food and refreshments and learn about local support resources. To register for the event, contact [email protected]

Awareness month will culminate with the Arkansas Autism Foundation’s fundraising event, Blue Tie Blue Jean Ball, on Thursday, April 26.

The event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Historic Lafayette Building in Little Rock. Attendees will enjoy a festive evening with hors-d’oeuvres, libations, entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased at

“We are families and friends affected by autism spectrum disorder, and we want the community to know that they are not alone,” said Dawn Itzkowitz, executive board chairperson with Autism Arkansas Foundation. “Our goal is to connect families with the education and resources needed so that their children, no matter what age, will have the best opportunity to enjoy life,” added Itzkowitz.

All proceeds go toward supporting individuals on the autism spectrum and their families throughout Arkansas. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability. The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills and level of ability from profound mental deficiency to superior intelligence. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. All money raised by Arkansas Autism Foundation stays in Arkansas providing support and promoting opportunities for individuals living on the autism spectrum.

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