Lawmaker holds Walk for Autism Awareness at Haffen Park

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THE BRONX -

Some Bronx residents marked the end of Autism Awareness Month by lacing up their sneakers and stepping out for some fresh air.

State Sen. Jamaal Bailey organized a Walk for Autism Awareness to bring those affected by autism together, along with their loved ones.

Sen. Bailey hosted the walk at Haffen Park with Christian Williams, a teenage boy with autism, and his family.

"One thing I learned about autism is that if you've met one person with autism, then you've met one person with autism. We tend to broad-brush things we don't know about, or understand. Events like this are designed to show they are people first, who happen to have autism," says Sen. Bailey.

The latest CDC research on autism found that its prevalence has jumped by 15 percent, and 1 in 59 kids are affected. The research also finds that the gender gap in autism has decreased.

Christian's mother, Shonta Holmes, says the most difficult part of being a mom of a child with autism is feeling like it's just you.

"Sometimes you feel alone," Holmes says.

She says when other parents of autistic children come out to events like this, they can communicate with each other about how to help their children.

Sen. Bailey says he is personally impacted by autism as well, as he says two mothers who work in his office have kids with autism.

Money raised during the walk will be donated to the organization Christopher's Voice.

The organization provides GPS systems and locate systems to kids with autism.

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