Fund helps families deal with autism | AspenTimes.com

Fund helps families deal with autism

ASPEN – The Roaring Fork Valley is a great place to raise children. But when your child has a disability, there are challenges. When that challenge is autism, unique challenges – and opportunities – arise.

“Autism has so many different facets, but locally we have been able to offer a lot of opportunities,” said Sallie Bernard, co-founder of Extreme Sports Camp and member of the Autism Speaks national board. “But what people don’t realize is how deep the impact can be for the families.”

But there is assistance in the form of a new fund of the Aspen Valley Foundation called the Valley Autism Assistance Fund. It is designed to give families dealing with the challenges of autism assistance at all levels. And at this month’s Light It Up Blue Aspen gala, more than $17,500 was raised for the Valley Autism Assistance Fund.

“This will go a long way toward helping families who need this help,” Bernard said. “This is something that is not always recognized but is so important.”

But the bottom line, Bernard said, is raising awareness and, ultimately, acceptance for all children – and adults – in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“This is all part of our community recognizing the needs of everyone in our community,” she said. “We hope this will help families in immediate need but also help those around them recognize the greater issue of autism.”

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jmcgovern@aspentimes.com