FAMILIES affected by autism are hoping the community will come together to support the Walk for Autism.
The walk is an initiative of Autism Spectrum Australia to help raise money for research into autism.
- READ MORE:What is autism?
People are asked to walk 10,000 steps a day for eight days between April 8 and 15, while collecting sponsorship.
Those who sign up will receive a free T-shirt and a pedometer.
Bathurst mum Fiona Prosser is trying to recruit local families to participate.
Her 9-year-old daughter lives with autism, making Ms Prosser acutely aware of how hard the disorder can be.
She has met other families in a similar situation, who agree that many people can’t recognise someone with autism.
“It is a silent disability. You can’t physically see it,” Ms Prosser said.
People with autism, children in particular, are often treated differently by people in the community because of the disorder and end up isolated.
Parents also feel judged because people assume tantrums and other behaviour is the result of spoilt child or bad parenting, not a mental disorder they have no control over.
Some parents have even had complaints made about their children when their autism is mistaken for bad behaviour.
Ms Prosser hopes people can participate in Walk for Autism, not only to raise money, but to help raise awareness about the disorder.
“I just want to get it out there that a smile or saying ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘Do you need help?’, it takes 1000 kilos off our shoulders as parents,” she said.
Ms Prosser is an admin on the Bathurst ASD ADHD ODD OCD OT SPD ect Support Group Facebook page, which offers support and advice to local families who are affected by any of these disorders.
People who want to join the group will be asked a few questions to make sure they are joining for the right reasons and then they will have access to the support group.
“We’re a good bunch of people and we are just there to help and share information,” she said.
The group is raising money for Walk for Autism. People can donate to their page by clicking here.