The Central PA Autism Society (CPAS), formerly known as the Blair County Autism Support Group, is a group devoted to local support for people with Autism Spectrum Diagnosis as well as for their families of any age. The society has been in existence now for over 15 years. The autism society is here for anyone to ask questions and who may be in need of getting some form of support.

Lindsay Martsolf has been the president of the society for the past two years and the society has experienced some very good growth throughout the participating county areas. “Our mission is to identify the needs of the autism community in the counties that we represent. Once these needs are identified we then host events for the children in those challenged areas in order to meet the special needs of these children and adults. We are all very passionate on helping children and families with autism,” Martsolf shared.

The society through the support of various sponsors, provides sensory events that are held for families throughout the year. Interested individuals can join the society group on Facebook in order to gain support from other parents and those working with children and adults diagnosed with autism.

The Central PA Autism Society will be conducting their first annual Central PA Autism Walk Saturday, April 27 from noon to 4 p.m. at Mansion Park in Altoona. The CPAS encompasses the counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre and Huntingdon.

The society urges people to get involved. If you are not able to walk then come as a spectator. “We are expecting between 500 and 600 people at the walk and since this is our first annual try at this we are thrilled with the response,” Martsolf said. For more information or questions on the walk itself individuals can contact Martsolf by e-mail at centralpaautism@hotmail.com.

The autism society is always looking for enthusiastic individuals from the five counties that are named above that form the society. These individuals are a great help in planning for future localized events that will help the autism community. If it is a board member, an event planner or someone who just wishes to volunteer, everyone is welcome.

For those who have never attended an event sponsored by the society, there will be special accommodations available at Mansion Park during the walk. There will be restrooms, quiet areas of the children, free snacks and water. There will be additional food available also for purchase.

According to Martsolf, “At the conclusion of each of our events and family outings we can always be happy with the wonderful events that have been provided to our children and families. The smiles on all of the faces of the children are a testament to its success.”

Chuck Banas can be reached at cbanas@thedailyherald.net.

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